27 de abril de 2016 / 8:01 / en 2 años

UPDATE 1-Sluggish Spain and Britain hit Iberdrola core profit

* EBITDA falls 6 pct in Q1 to 2 bln euros

* Spain, Britain and Mexico units struggle

* Offsets solid growth in U.S. (Adds details, background)

By Julien Toyer and Jose Elías Rodríguez

MADRID, April 27 (Reuters) - Spanish utility Iberdrola posted a 6 percent drop in first-quarter core profit to 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion), hit by declines in Spain, Britain and Mexico that more than offset growth in the United States.

Europe’s second-biggest power company by market value said net profit rose 3.3 percent to 869 million euros, however, boosted by lower financial costs and better hedging against the loss of value of some of its key markets’ currencies.

The Bilbao-based company, which is pressing ahead with its international expansion with investments in the United States, Britain, Brazil and Mexico, is targeting a growth rate in core earnings - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) - of 6 percent over the next five years.

It also hopes to grow its dividend by the same amount, a key part of its new strategy as the company gets more exposed to regulated businesses which now accounts for around three quarter of its profits.

Although political uncertainty in its two biggest markets Spain, which will go to the polls again in June in a re-run of a December inconclusive election, and Britain, which will hold a referendum on its membership to the European Union, is a worry, Iberdrola reiterated those objectives on Wednesday.

It also confirmed its intention to pay a dividend of at least 0.28 euro per share against 2015 earnings.

For now, however, EBITDA at the regulated business was down 8 percent in Britain, 0.6 percent in Spain and 28.9 percent in Brazil while the power retail business remained pressured in Spain (-10.2 percent) and Mexico (-9.8 percent) and far outweighed the positive impact of U.S. unit Avangrid.

In the United States, where Iberdrola completed a $3 billion takeover of U.S.-based UIL Holding last year, profits grew 24 percent to 212 million euros.

Shares in Iberdrola were down 0.57 percent to 6.14 euros at 0730 GMT.

$1 = 0.8853 euros Editing by Paul Day and Mark Potter

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