Scotland business

Energy firm SSE posts rise in pre-tax profits

Electricity pylon

Power firm SSE has reported a rise in pre-tax profits, despite making an operating loss in its energy supply business.

Preliminary results for the six months to the end of September showed adjusted profit before tax rose by 4.6% to £370.3m.

The Perth-based company's energy supply arm reported an operating loss of £16.9m.

It blamed a competitive energy market and a sustained period of warm weather.

SSE warned full-year earnings per share could come in at the lower end of expectations on the back of weak energy prices.

But it added that it expected to pay a higher annual dividend after its interim dividend payment rose 2.3% to 26.6p per share.

Wholesale division

SSE also reported an 83% decline in operating profit in its wholesale division, to £26.7m, driven by an 86% plunge in electricity generation profit.

The supplier lost 210,000 customer accounts in Britain and Ireland over the first half of its financial year and its users consumed significantly less energy in a warmer-than-average period.

The power firm also reported total capital expenditure and investment of £679.3m in Britain and Ireland, down from £804.3m in the same period in 2013.

Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: "In tough market conditions we have been able to deliver solid business results at the same time as being a responsible company that does the right thing by its employees and its customers."

The company also announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin is to step down from its board on 1 January next year after 13 years of service.

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