Wires

UPDATE 1-Enel earnings lifted by grid, sales business to beat target

(Adds details, CEO comment)

MILAN, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Italy's Enel said on Thursday its core earnings last year jumped 10.5%, boosted by its distribution business in Latin America and retail business in Italy and Brazil.

In preliminary results, Europe's biggest utility said its ordinary earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 17.9 billion euros ($19.7 billion), just above a target of 17.8 billion euros set last year.

"(The results place) us in a strong position to achieve the targets set in our 2020-2022 Strategic Plan," Chief Executive Francesco Starace said in a statement.

Enel, which controls Spanish utility Endesa, is spending heavily on green energy and grids around the world to boost earnings and meet growing demand for electricity and new digital services.

It said last year it added 3,000 megawatts to its green portfolio worldwide, which has an overall installed capacity of around 46 gigawatts.

The world's biggest renewables player, with sales of more than 80 billion euros, expects 62% of its power production to be emission-free by 2021 and aims to have no carbon footprint by 2050.

Net debt at the end of last year stood at 45.2 billion euros, up 10% on the previous year due in part to investments and acquisitions.

($1 = 0.9109 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Gavin Jones and Mark Potter)