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Renewables firm Neoen aims to double power capacity by 2025

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(Reuters) - French renewable energy producer Neoen on Thursday announced plans to more than double its capacity by the end of 2025, by rapidly expanding its presence in the countries where it already operates.

The group, which owns Australia's "Victorian Big Battery" project, is targeting capacity of at least 10 gigawatts in operation or under construction by the end of 2025, up from 4.1 gigawatts at end of December - by adding at least two gigawatts every year.

It won over one gigawatt in new projects over the last year, but faced challenges from unfavourable weather conditions and pressure on energy prices.

"The core part of this growth will come in countries where we already established" Chief Executive Xavier Barbaro told journalists in a call. "We are on known terrain."

Neoen, which mainly generates electricity from wind and solar plants, produces the bulk of its electricity in Australia and Europe, but has also been expanding in Latin America.

It expects it will need to invest some 5.3 billion euros ($6.32 billion) over 2021 to 2025 to support the capacity expansion, and plans to raise a maximum of 1.2 billion euros through a capital increase, the company said in a statement.

Barbaro said the group did not plan to raise the 1.2 billion in a single issue and that it might reduce this figure by selling its stakes in some assets.

Neoen aims to grow its core profits to between 295-325 million euros this year, up from the 270.4 million euros it posted for 2020.

Barbaro however expressed caution on the speed of the group's profits ramp-up, citing construction delays and pressure on electricity prices under the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Lincoln Feast.)