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National Grid expects top end medium term growth as dividend hiked

The FTSE 100 utilities provider reported underlying pre-tax profits had increased 4% to £2.68bn, while revenues before exceptional items and remeasurements stood at £15.2bn
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The group also said it would increase its final dividend to 30.44p

National Grid PLC (LON:NG.) said it expects growth to be at the “top end” of its expected range for the medium term as its hiked its dividend in full-year results.

The FTSE 100 utilities provider reported underlying pre-tax profits for the year had increased 4% to £2.68bn compared to the previous year, while revenues before exceptional items and remeasurements stood at £15.2bn, up from £15.04bn the year before.

READ: National Grid sees stormy US weather cloud earnings forecasts

The group also said it would increase its final dividend to 30.44p, bringing the full year dividend to 45.93p, a 3.75% increase on the year before.

In the US, the company reported that despite a challenging winter period in which severe storms had caused major power outages for its customers, the majority of the £142mln in restoration costs would be recovered via existing regulatory mechanisms.

In April, the group lowered its forecasts as remediation costs from the storms impacted its potential earnings for the US market.

National Grid also announced a 14% increase in critical infrastructure investment during the year to £4.3bn, which helped drive asset growth of 6%.

Potential £1.2bn from sale of Cadent stake

The firm also said, further to an announcement earlier in May that it had agreed the potential sale of its remaining 25% stake in Cadent, that it expected cash proceeds from the sale to be around £1.2bn.

In its outlook, the company said it expected growth “at the top end” of the 5-7% range for the medium term, and at least 7% in the near term.

John Pettigrew, National Grid chief executive, said: "Our networks achieved high levels of reliability and safety and we increased customer driven investment to £4.3bn. The US business continued to make significant progress enabling record levels of investment. In the UK, we continued to deliver incentive outperformance generating significant cost savings for customers. Consistent with our strategy, we continued the repositioning of our portfolio towards stronger growth with the recent agreement for the potential sale of our remaining interest in Cadent.

He added: “Looking ahead, National Grid expects growth at the top end of the 5-7% range for the medium term, and at least 7% in the near term, which we will deliver with continued capital discipline and improved efficiency across the Group.”

In early morning trading Thursday, National Grid shares were up 1.9% at 849p.

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