A strong performance at the group's grid business and an increase in its renewable capacity helped offset the negative impact of an unprecedented energy price volatility triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Governments' measures to shield customers from higher energy bills and a lower than expected hydroelectric production in Italy also weighed on the group last year.
To withstand the difficult environment, Enel announced a more cautious strategy and launched an ambitious asset sale plan.
At the end of last year net debt was down to 60.1 billion from a peak of nearly 70 billion euros reached at end-September.
"We are entering now in the final leg of the group's repositioning," Enel CEO Francesco Starace said at an analyst conference call, confirming the group would reduce the ratio between net debt and core profit to 2.4-2.5 times this year from 3.1 times at the end of last year.
The exit from Peru and the sale of assets in Argentina and in Brazil will likely be completed this year as well as the partial disposal of the group's business in Greece and Australia. Enel also wants to extract value from its gas portfolio in Spain.
Starace, who has been leading the group since 2014, will end his term in May. Political sources have told Reuters that the government, which holds a controlling stake in the energy group, was considering to replace the top executive.
"I have no indication of who is going to be in the (new) board, head hunters are at work... the process will be concluded in the next 2-3 weeks," Starace said.
The group said it would propose a dividend of 0.40 euro per share.
($1 = 0.9422 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Gianluca Semeraro)