By Brian Donnelly  Business Correspondent
ENERGY heavyweight SSE has said that it plans to recommend a dividend but
that it would “monitor closely” the course of coronavirus on business.
Scottish Hydroelectric owner SSE made the statement in an update before its
financial year ends on March 31 2020.
It said that for 2019/20, SSE expects a year-on-year increase of around 25
per cent for SSE Renewables adjusted operating profit, mainly due to a full
year of output from Beatrice offshore wind farm, and a high single-digit
percentage year-on-year decrease for SSEN Transmission, SSEN Distribution
and investment in SGN.
The Perth-based firm said it expects that its adjusted earnings per share
will be at the lower end of the expected 83p to 88p range, although “this
is before any Covid-19-impacts that may become apparent and need to be
reflected in the financial statements for the year”.
It said: “The Covid-19 outbreak started in the UK and Ireland late in SSE’s
financial year and the wider economic impact of it in the UK and Ireland
has not so far had any material impact on SSE’s financial results for
2019/20, and so the board still intends to recommend a full-year dividend
of 80 pence per share.
“It will, however, continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the wider
economy and SSE.”
SSE added: “If the economic impact results in significant adverse effects
on SSE’s businesses, the board’s responses may include reconsidering the
timing of dividend payments, should it be in the long-term interests of the
company.”
Gregor Alexander, SSE finance director, said it “remains confident about
the long-term opportunities for SSE”.
Russ Mould, of AJ Bell, said that “as a utility, SSE enjoys relatively
predictable demand, although the company did take pains to stress that it
was constantly reviewing the event of the possible economic downturn upon
even its business, cash flows and dividend plans”.
SSE shares closed down 9.44% at 1,261p

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