* Core earnings up 11.6% in first nine months of year
* Investment up by 30% year-to-date
* Net debt to reach 36.5 bln euros by end of 2019 (Adds company, analyst comments, background, shares)
By Clara-Laeila Laudette and Andrés González
MADRID, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Iberdrola will look at any deal opportunities in the United States and United Kingdom, its chairman said on Wednesday, as the Spanish energy giant accelerates an investment drive focused on renewables.
The company has increased investments by 30% so far this year as part of a multi-year 34 billion euro ($38 billion) plan and said it was ahead of a goal to add 13 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy-producing capacity by 2022.
“We have already done what we planned, and at this moment we are accelerating our investment to benefit from the opportunities of the energy transition and the resources it will provide for ourselves,” Chairman Ignacio Galan said.
Net debt will rise to 36.5 billion euros by the end of 2019, up one billion in three months, but the firm’s priority is accelerating investments, rather than focusing on ratios, Galan said.
The Financial Times reported this month that Iberdrola’s U.S. unit Avangrid Inc was in talks to combine with PPL Corporation, although the companies have not confirmed this.
Credit Suisse analysts noted Iberdrola had achieved a target to raise 3.5 billion euros from asset sales - such as a U.S. gas business and a stake in a British offshore wind farm - ahead of plan, creating room for “a significant boost in investments”.
Supported by resilient power network businesses in Brazil and the United States, as well as higher offshore wind output, Iberdrola confirmed its guidance for double-digit net profit growth this year.
Supplying energy to more than 30 million people in Spain, the United States, Brazil and Britain, the company made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 7.5 billion euros in the first nine months of 2019.
That was up 11.6% on the same period of 2018, while net profit climbed 20.4%, broadly in line with expectations.
Dry weather in Spain and Brazil led to a 25.2% drop in hydroelectric power generation, but that was offset by higher output from offshore wind and electricity networks in Brazil, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In Brazil, where Iberdrola operates through a subsidiary called Neoenergia, a change to the regulatory framework boosted revenues.
Galan told Reuters earlier this month he would also consider buying Brazilian power distribution or generation companies.
Iberdrola shares, which have risen around 35% so far this year, were down 0.4% to 9.116 euros at 1115 GMT, valuing the business at around 58 billion euros.
$1 = 0.8998 euros Reporting by Andres Gonzalez and Clara-Laeila Laudette, Editing by Ingrid Melander and Mark Potter