SSE raises full-year earnings per share on wholesale profits

22 2012 in Qui

SSE's board of directors recommended a 2.1% in full-year dividend payments to shareholders.

SSE, which raised dual fuel prices by 6.9% on April 28, said United Kingdom and Ireland customer accounts fell from 8.21 million to 8 million in the year to March 31 as it faced competition from smaller rivals, but insisted it was beginning to halt the exodus.

Shares fell 0.76% to 1,440.0p in morning trading.

Pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March tripled to £1.8 billion, although a year ago the company made a number of writedowns on older power stations.

Profit margin per dual fuel household customer - a key measure in the industry - was around 6.9% against 6.2% the previous year. That was higher than SSE's guided range for the year of 122.0p to 125.0p, which in turn had been raised from an original target of hitting at least 120.0p.

The firm said it was working to keep its dividend cover within an expected range of 1.2-1.4 times, although it was likely to be at the bottom of that range, which meant adjusted earnings per share was likely to be lower than 2016/17.

Total adjusted operating profit in the year amounted to GBP1.94 billion from only GBP785.4 million the year before, with reported operating profit taking exceptional losses and gains into account rising to GBP1.73 billion from GBP1.66 billion.

"Over the last few years, SSE has in effect been investing at record levels in order to stand still from a profit perspective", the analysts said in a research note.

SSE hikes full year dividend.

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The Big Six provider said 4.76 million of its 6.76 million United Kingdom domestic customer accounts could be affected by a cap on standard variable tariffs (SVTs).

Regarding the proposed cap the SSE said: it "would caution against potential unintended consequences of any proposed intervention in what is a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive market".

The Perth, Scotland-based company hasn't seen anything yet in the government's price-cap plan that requires it to change its policy of boosting dividends each year, but there are risks, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer, said Wednesday on a conference call with investors.

Net debt exceeded SSE's expectations in the recently-ended financial year, coming in at GBP8.50 billion, a decrease from GBP9.00 billion the prior year, and below the company's estimate of GBP8.60 billion.

"SSE continues to advocate for as much stability in the operating environment as can be achieved".

"In responding to such uncertainty, SSE engages constructively with governments and regulators".

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