* Net profit 786 mln euros vs 770 mln euros forecast
* EBITDA falls 3 pct, largely in line with forecast
* Operating costs reduced with fewer employees (Adds electricity sales, costs, debt)
LISBON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Portugal’s largest company, EDP-Energias de Portugal, posted a 1 percent drop in nine-month net profit on Thursday, weighed down by regulatory changes for renewable energy in Spain, a drought in Brazil and a foreign exchange effect.
Net profit of 786 million euros ($992 million), however, was better than the 770 million euros forecast by a Reuters poll of analysts.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped 3 percent to 2.715 billion euros, largely in line with the market consensus.
The contribution to EBITDA from EDP’s Brazilian business fell by 29 percent to 374 million euros, the company said.
The Brazilian real’s appreciation accounted for the bulk of EDP’s 50 million euro foreign exchange loss.
On Wednesday, EDP Renewables, EDP’s wind energy unit, posted a 45 percent fall in nine-month net profit, affected by regulatory changes in neighbouring Spain.
EDP said its total electricity distribution, or sales, still rose by just over 1 percent to 59,262 gigawatt hours (GWh), led by Brazil.
EDP reduced operating costs by 13 percent to 991 million euros mainly due to a 2 percent reduction in the number of employees, led by early retirements in Portugal.
The company’s net debt rose more than 2 percent from the end of 2013 to 17.5 billion euros by the end of September and it said it had 5.5 billion euros in cash and available liquidity, which covers its refinancing needs until the middle of 2016.
EDP shares had closed around 0.2 percent lower just before the results were announced, outperforming the broader market in Lisbon, which fell almost 1.5 percent. (1 US dollar = 0.7921 euro) (Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Susan Fenton)