The Spanish utility owns a 39% stake in Brazilian energy company Neoenergia and says that its main focus over the next few years will be the construction of new hydro power plants.

Neoenergia is part of Iberdrola’s extensive Latin American investment portfolio, which accounts for 13% of the firm’s earnings and nearly one-quarter of net profits.

Iberdrola said in a statement that it is expecting to bring around 710MW of new hydro power capacity on stream in Brazil by 2013 as part of plans to invest $1130M in the country between 2010 and 2012. It already operates 1740MW of generating capacity in Brazil.

Other investments will include improvements to and the expansion of electricity distribution infrastructure in Brazil. Neoenergia is now the largest electricity distributor in north-eastern Brazil, with 28,300GWh and a 44 per cent market share.

Iberdrola commissioned 275MW of new hydro power capacity in Brazil in 2009, and has invested $3640M in the country since its arrival there at the end of the 1990s.