Saturday 23 June 2018

Operating profit tumbles at SSE Airtricity owner amid 'complex challenges'

The company has worked on developing strengths in the efficient development, construction and operation of onshore wind.
The company has worked on developing strengths in the efficient development, construction and operation of onshore wind.
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Bottom line operating profit at SSE Airtricity owner SSE has fallen by 28.9pc year-on-year to £1.4bn (€1.6bn) amid what the company chairman described as "a number of complex challenges."

In the 12 months to 31 March the group adjusted reported operating profit of £1.8bn, a decline of 2.4pc year-on-year.

During the period the group incurred exceptional charges of £213m, according to the company's results announcement.

Revenue increased 8pc to £31.23bn, however reported earnings per share were down 48.7pc to 81.3p.

During the 12 month period the group, which operates in Ireland and the UK, lost 430,000 customers and was impacted by charges linked to the merger of its retail arm with Npower.

"As expected, 2017/18 presented a number of complex challenges to manage, but SSE's operational performance was generally very robust and significant progress was achieved in key aspects of the company's capital investment programme," Richard Gillingwater, chairman of SSE, said.

"The challenges will continue in 2018/19, which is also expected to be a year of major transition for SSE."

"A strong operational and investment focus on meeting the current and future needs of energy customers is essential, as is preparing the businesses in the SSE group for the changes that lie ahead."

In its 2017/18 financial year the company paid €22.6m of taxes in Ireland, compared to €16.5m the previous year.

This year marks ten years since SSE's acquisition of Airtricity, during which period the company has worked on developing strengths in the efficient development, construction and operation of onshore wind.

In the last 16 months the company has delivered seven new onshore wind energy projects across Ireland and the UK, including Leanamore (18MW) in Ireland.

At 31 March 2018, SSE Airtricity supplied electricity and natural gas to 740,000 household and business customer accounts across the island of Ireland, a fall on the previous year, due to what the company said was increased competitive pressures.

(Additional reporting from PA)

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