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Enel 2006 Net Down 22%, Up Excluding One-Offs

Italian power company Enel, which is involved in a takeover battle for Spanish peer Endesa, posted a 22% drop in 2006 net profit on Wednesday, as the prior year was helped by one-off items.

Enel, Europe's third-biggest utility, said it was targeting better operating results this year and average annual growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 6% for 2006-2008.

Net profit was 3.036 billion euros ($4.03 billion), down from 3.9 billion euros the year before, Enel said in a statement.

The 2005 net profit included 1.15 billion euros in gains mostly from the sale of 43.85% of power grid Terna, Enel said in a statement.

Net profit in 2006 rose 1.4% to 2.78 billion euros excluding gains from Terna and the sale last year of Enel's remaining stake in Weather Investments for just under 2 billion euros.

EBITDA was 8.019 billion euros, up 3.5 percent from 2005.

Enel, which has the highest dividend yield among European utilities, said its overall 2006 dividend would be 0.49 euro a share, compared with 0.64 euro for 2005.

It is targeting payouts of at least 0.49 euro a share for 2007 and 2008.

Enel and Spanish conglomerate Acciona have made a 41 euro a share bid to take over Endesa, trumping a 40-euro-a-share offer totalling 42.3 billion euros from German peer E.ON.

The Endesa bid is expected to be among key issues when Enel Chief Executive Fulvio Conti presents the company's multi-year business plan to analysts at 8.30 am GMT in London.