Iberdrola SA, Spain’s largest utility, said first-half profit declined 2.6 percent after it earned less from asset sales.

Net income fell to 1.47 billion euros ($1.89 billion) from 1.51 billion euros a year earlier, the Bilbao-based company said today on its website. That almost matches the 1.448 billion-euro mean estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. Asset-sale gains dropped to 83.6 million euros from 223 million euros.

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Iberdrola, the world’s largest owner of wind-energy parks, generates more than half its power outside Spain after expanding abroad to cut reliance on the Spanish market, where demand fell last year and regulators let it recoup only a portion of costs. The company plans to sell more assets after buying U.S. utility Energy East Corp. in 2008 and Scottish Power Ltd. in 2007.

“Iberdrola is able to keep a sustainable growth pace by supporting itself in one area or another, depending on the circumstances,” Chief Executive Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan said on a conference call today.

The utility’s hydropower output more than doubled in the first half, while electricity use in Spain rose 4.2 percent after the recession had eroded demand last year. The average spot price in Spain in the first half fell to 31.14 euros a megawatt-hour from 40.81 euros a year earlier.

Iberdrola shares rose 0.3 cents to 5.18 euros at 11:27 a.m. in Madrid. The shares have dropped 22 percent this year, valuing the company at 27.2 billion euros.

More: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-21/iberdrola-first-half-net-drops-2-6-to-1-9-billion-as-one-time-gains-fall.html

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