Portugal's REN first quarter profit rises 4% on lower taxes, charges

LISBON, May 14 (Reuters) - Portuguese power grids operator REN posted on Friday a 4% rise in net profit for the first three months of 2021 to 4.5 million euros ($5.45 million) on lower taxes and financial charges.

REN, whose main shareholder is China’s State Grid Corp, said its financial charges dropped 21% to 10.8 million euros from a year ago, while the income tax decreased 7.4% to 11.9 million euros and an extraordinary tax on the energy sector also fell by 3.8% to 28.1 million euros.

REN, which owns high-voltage electricity and high-pressure natural gas transmission grids in Portugal, said in a statement its total revenue increased 3.5% to 176.3 million euros.

Still its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 4.5% to 114.4 million euros.

It blamed the fall on lower remuneration from its regulated activities, which decreased by 2.5 million euros while operating expenses increased by 3.2% to 36 million euros.

The lower Regulatory Asset Base remuneration reflected a fall in the average yield of 10-year Portuguese sovereign bonds.

The company’s operations are almost all concentrated in Portugal but it also does some business in Chile.

Its capital expenditure rose 4.8% year-on-year to 31.8 million euros in the first three months of 2021, despite some delays in works due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said its net debt fell 7.1% to 2.5 billion euros from a year ago and the average cost of debt dropped 0.26 percentage points to 1.6%. ($1 = 0.8260 euros) (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Catarina Demony and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)