(Recasts lead, adds CFO comments, broadband, results)
By Stephen Jewkes
MILAN, May 10 (Reuters) - Italy’s biggest utility Enel expects to complete asset sales this year worth around one billion euros ($1.1 billion), a sixth of its four-year disposal target, CFO Alberto De Paoli said on Tuesday.
Enel, which controls Spanish utility Endesa, is looking to sell as much as 6 billion euros in assets up to 2019 to help to fund growth.
“We are currently active on some minor disposals,” De Paoli said in a conference call following Enel’s first-quarter results, which came out on Monday.
Big utilities across Europe have been trying to sell off assets and rejig business models in response to weak power prices, falling demand and a shift towards renewable power.
Enel’s CFO said the group intended to sell a stake of around 20 percent in a regasification plant in Chile, a coal plant in Russia, a gas-fired generating unit in Belgium and a business in France.
It will also sell some assets of Enel Green Power, he said.
Enel, which earlier this year folded its green business into group operations, is stepping up investments to boost its grid and renewable energy businesses around the world.
The state-controlled company is also investing 2.5 billion euros to roll out an ultrafast broadband network.
The utility presented an informal offer on Saturday to buy a majority stake in fibre network company Metroweb, valuing it at 776 million euros, according to a source.
But on Monday Telecom Italia made a rival bid for Metroweb valuing it at more than 820 million euros, another source said.
“Metroweb could give us some acceleration in the programme ... but we will proceed on a standalone basis if this kind of transaction is not positive for us,” De Paoli said.
Enel beat expectations when its first-quarter core earnings beat expectations, with a better performance in Italy and Latin America virtually offsetting weakness in Spain and in renewable energy.
“The overall feeling on Q1 is positive given the numbers were better than expected,” Milan-based broker Equita said.
By 1031 GMT Enel shares were up 3.5 percent while the European utility index was up 1.3 percent.
$1 = 0.8790 euros Reporting by Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman