Greig Cameron
Deputy Business Editor

UTILITY giant SSE has confirmed it remains on course to raise its annual
dividend in spite of challenging energy markets.

The Perth business said its retail arm, which includes a number of customer
facing businesses as well as its consumer operation, has been profitable in
the six months to September 30.

Within that, the energy supply section is expected to have reduced its
operating losses.

The networks division is forecast to see its operating profit rise on the
back of major capital investment SSE has put into its transmission
infrastructure in recent years.

Meanwhile the wholesale segment remains in profit but is likely to see its
figures reduced in the half-year.

SSE said that is a result of lower output from renewable and thermal energy
and lower gas production profits.

Across the six month period about £700 million was spent maintaining,
upgrading and building energy related assets.

Gregor Alexander, finance director of SSE, said the firm was on target to
deliver a dividend increase at least in line with Retail Prices Index
inflation. He added: “We said at the start of the financial year that the
issues facing the energy sector are very challenging.

“Energy is a long term business, however, we are confident that focusing on
positive engagement with our Retail and Networks customers, maintaining a
strong operational focus and investing in the right assets, is the right
approach.

“The challenges are unlikely to abate in the second half of the financial
year but our continuing operational and financial discipline should enable
us to meet the needs of customers.”


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