By Pierre Bertrand

Iberdrola anticipates higher shareholder payouts and will focus its investments on its electric distribution networks it said in its new plan to 2026.

A majority of its network investments will go its U.S. operations, and most is to be funneled toward its distribution business, the company said, adding that it also intends to hire 10,000 people by 2026 to help it accelerate the pace of electrification.

In total it will invest 41 billion euros ($44.78 billion) in the 2024 to 2026 period, including EUR5 billion from partners, with EUR21.5 billion dedicated to networks. This will increase its network asset base by 38% during the period to EUR54 billion, it said.

It will direct EUR15.5 billion to renewable energy projects already under construction, with more than half of that funding going to offshore wind projects in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.

The company had said it would invest around EUR47 billion in 2023 to 2025, which included EUR11 billion for its planned acquisition of PNM Resources. Iberdrola previously targeted investments of around EUR17 billion in renewables and around EUR27 billion in networks.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are expected to be split evenly between networks and renewables and be driven by Iberia, reaching EUR16.5 billion to EUR17 billion by 2026, according to the new plan.

However, it cut its 2025 Ebitda forecast to between EUR15.7 billion and EUR15.9 billion, from EUR16.5 billion and EUR17 billion in its 2023-2025 plan. It made EUR14.42 billion in Ebitda last year.

It also raised its net profit forecast range to between EUR5.3 billion and EUR5.4 billion in 2025, from EUR5.2 billion and EUR5.4 billion in its previous plan and expects it to be between EUR5.6 billion and EUR5.8 billion by 2026. It made EUR4.80 billion in net profit in 2023.

The company anticipates a dividend per share payout in the range of around EUR0.61 to EUR0.66 in 2026, paying an estimated EUR11 billion to shareholders in the 2024 to 2026 period. It compares with around EUR9.5 billion in payouts during the 2021 to 2023 period.

It also said that it expected a dividend per share floor of EUR0.55 in 2024-26, compared with the EUR0.50 a share floor previously expected for 2025.

Iberdrola said it would pay a EUR0.55 per share total dividend for 2023.

Write to Pierre Bertrand at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-21-24 0856ET