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SSE PLC reports lower coronavirus hit than expected

SSE intends to treble its renewables output by 2030

Seeing Machines Ltd. -

 

SSE PLC (LON:SEE) said it expects a boost to earnings this year due to a less severe impact from coronavirus than expected.

In a statement with its half-year figures, the power utility said it expects to earn between 75p and 85p per share in the year to end-March 2021 assuming normal weather conditions.

Coronavirus costs totalled £115mln in the six months to end September, which was also lower than expected but meant operating profits fell 15% to £418mln while underlying profits fell 26% to £194mln. Adjusted earnings per share were down 34% to 11.9p.

SSE has been repositioning its portfolio to focus on green energy and said stated earnings for the full year will be well over 150p to reflect the disposals of Multifuel Energy, Walney and MapleCo.

With the disposals, SSE added that its planned £7.5bn five-year green investment programme will be financeable without any changes to its capital structure.

That investment programme will see SSE treble its renewables output by 2030 by adding 1GW a year of capacity.

Debt is expected to be around £9.5bn at the end of March 2021.

After resetting its dividend policy at the end of its last financial year, SSE today announced an interim payout of 24.4p.

Chairman Richard Gillingwater said it had been a strong operational performance over the first half of the year.

“Our disposals programme is on track, real progress is being made against the capex plan and we have the balance sheet strength to deliver what is an enviable low-carbon development pipeline.“

Shares rose 4.6% to 1,409.5p in mid-morning trading.

 

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