SSE Airtricity owner lifts annual earnings outlook

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Caoimhe Gordon and Aby Jose Koilparambil

UK energy power company SSE lifted its annual earnings expectations on Thursday, helped by continued strong performance of its flexible generation plant.

The company owns SSE Airtricity here.

"Continued strong performance from flexible generation plant to support security of supply has more than offset the lower-than-planned renewables output and associated hedge buy-back costs," SSE said in a statement.

SSE said it intends to recommend a full-year dividend of 85.7 pence per share plus the retail price index for 2022/23 year, followed by a rebase to 60 pence in 2023-24 to support its investment plans.

The company said it is targeting dividend increases of at least 5pc per annum for 2024-25 and 2025-26 fiscal years.

The company said it now expects its 2022-23 adjusted earnings per share to be more than 160 pence, compared with the previous guidance of more than 150 pence for the year ending March 31.

SSE Airtricity has around 750,000 home and business customers in Ireland.

The energy provider made an operating profit of €17m for the first half of 2022, an increase from a loss of €3.4m reported in the same period last year.

In November, SSE Airtricity revealed that it expects to forgo all profits for its current financial year in order to prioritise its customer support programmes in Ireland.

SSE said at the time it had set aside €25m for these programmes, protecting 60,000 vulnerable customers from any price rises until this month.

Last October, SSE Airtricity hiked its electricity charges by over 45pc, while its gas costs rose by 46pc, price comparison site reported.