SSE ups earnings forecast, confirms £2.5bn investment

SSE plc, the Perth-based electricity infrastructure giant, on Friday raised its annual earnings forecast and said it would invest any additional profit it makes into low-carbon electricity infrastructure.

SSE said it now expects adjusted earnings per share of more than £1.50 for fiscal year 2023 ending March 31, 2023, up from the previous outlook of at least £1.20.

The group said it remains on course to deliver record investment in excess of £2.5 billion this year.

SSE shares rose about 2%.

SSE said the earnings expectations update “reflects the strength and stability of its balanced mix of regulated and market-facing businesses with continuing good availability and supportive market conditions leading to flexible generation plant and gas storage optimisation significantly offsetting lower than planned renewables output and hedge buy-back costs.”

The firm said the change “also reflects a narrower range of probable financial outcomes with the decrease in risk from recent falls in forward power and gas prices and further clarity over the Electricity Generator Levy both reducing uncertainty in the financial outlook as the year has progressed.”

SSE added: “With market volatility expected to continue in the near term, uncertainties such as plant availability, weather conditions, and the extent to which market conditions lead to further optimisation of flexible generation plant, will determine the final full-year outturn.

“SSE will provide an update on performance for the final months of the year in its Notification of Closed Period statement.”

The details were contained in a trading statement that updated SSE’s financial outlook, outlined operational performance for the third quarter ending December 31, 2022, and outlined progress made in the delivery of the group’s Net Zero Acceleration Programme (NZAP).

SSE finance director Gregor Alexander said: “Our fully funded £12.5bn Net Zero Acceleration Programme is progressing at pace as we build the renewables, networks and flexible energy assets needed for a cleaner, more secure energy system.

“SSE is performing well in a shifting and volatile energy landscape, underlining the strength of our balanced business mix and the quality of our assets, and we are well placed to deliver a strong financial performance for the full year.

“We are responding to the cost of living and energy crises by investing record amounts and remain committed to investing additional profit we make into critical low-carbon electricity infrastructure. By doing so, we are creating lasting value for SSE’s stakeholders, and society as a whole.”

On dividends, SSE said: “In line with the group’s five-year dividend plan, announced as part of its NZAP in November 2021, SSE intends to recommend a full-year dividend of 85.7p per share plus RPI for 2022/23 followed by a rebase to 60p in 2023/24 to support the group’s significant investment and growth plans.

“The dividend is then expected to increase by at least 5% per annum in 2024/25 and 2025/26.”