Spain's biggest utility company Iberdrola forecasts net profit to rise by 8% to 10% this year from 2022, it was announced on Wednesday.

This is disregarding Spain's windfall tax that would reduce the growth rate to the mid-single-digit, Reuters reports.

As Europe's largest utility by market cap, Iberdrola registered a net profit of €4.34 billion last year, a rise of 11.7%.

Fuelled by a robust international performance, the results were in line with Iberdrola's guidance issued in February last year, marginally above the average forecast of €4.17 billion, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv. 

Furthermore, shares declined 0.9% on Thursday morning amid a general fall in the blue-chip index.

According to Executive Chairman Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan, last year's "stable growth" was attributed to geographical diversification, as the effect of Europe's energy crisis was countered by other markets, predominantly Brazil and the United States.

In July last year, the country's ruling left-wing coalition unveiled a bill to place a 1.2% tax on utility sales, Reuters reports. Last week, Spain's electricity utilities association, AELEC, filed an appeal against the tax before the High Court.

Energy markets have declined considerably from the 2022 highs, with utilities stating they had higher costs when fuel was more expensive.

In addition, Iberdrola invested €10.73 billion, a 13% rise over 2021, with 90% allocated to smart grids and renewables, the Reuters report adds.

"This is the company's main focus in the face of the new regulations imposed by the EU," IG analyst Diego Morin told Reuters news agency.

Iberdrola ended 2022 with a market capitalisation of some €70 billion after rising 6% on the stock market, making it the largest utility in Europe.

There are plans to finance a three-year plan for up to €47 billion in investment, maintain credit ratings and a dividend of as much as 75% of its earnings per share.

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