SSE expects £150m hit, but dividends held firm

Perth-based energy giant SSE said on Wednesday it continues to expect that its total adjusted operating profit for 2017-18 as a whole will be impacted by a reduction in its networks’ adjusted operating profit of around £150 million compared with the previous financial year.

SSE said it continues to target an increase in its full-year dividend of at least RPI inflation, with annual increases thereafter of at least RPI inflation also being targeted.

SSE will enter its closed period on October 1, 2017, prior to the publication on November 8 of its financial results for the first six months of the 2017-18 financial year.

The energy giant said it will work to keep dividend cover within the expected range of around 1.2 to 1.4 times, although, as previously indicated, for 2017-18 “it remains likely to be towards the bottom of that range, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the full- year is likely to be lower than it was in 2016-17.”

SSE expects to report adjusted earnings per share for the six months to September 30, 2017, of between 30p and 32p compared with 34.2p in the same period in 2016.

SSE reported in May that its adjusted pre-tax profit rose 2.1% to £1.55 billion in the year to March 31.

SSE finance director Gregor Alexander said: “We are encouraged with what has been achieved in the first half of the financial year, but energy provision is always complex, especially in the autumn and winter period.

“Our focus is on doing the right things and making the right decisions necessary to secure positive outcomes for customers and investors.

“That means maintaining our strong commitment to meeting customers’ energy needs and to delivering for shareholders annual dividend increases that at least keep pace with RPI inflation.”