Red Electrica Increases Dividend 7% as Ebit Stalls

Red Electrica Corp. SA, operator of Spain’s power-transmission network, increased its dividend 7 percent even as the company is poised to report the first drop in earnings before interest and tax in at least a decade.

The board agreed to pay a gross semiannual dividend of 72.37 euro cents on 2013 earnings compared with 67.64 cents a year earlier, the company said today in a filing. Ebit is set to fall 3.7 percent in 2013, according to the average of 17 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The grid operator, based in Madrid’s Alcobendas suburb, has managed to boost earnings and dividends in recent years even as consumer demand for power flagged during Spain’s recession. Demand for the first 11 months of 2013 fell by an annual 2.5 percent, corrected for calendar and temperature effects.

The semiannual payment announced today will be made to investors who hold the stock on Jan. 2. The 7 percent increase is in line with the boost awarded in 2012; it’s below the 18 percent and 27 percent increases made in the two previous years.

While analysts are predicting a slide in Ebit, they are forecasting net income will rise 3.9 percent to 511.6 million euros ($703.4 million).

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