Wednesday business round-up: Five key stories of the day

SSE said higher gas consumption boosted its profits. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

SSE said higher gas consumption boosted its profits. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

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Here are five of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Power supplier SSE reported a near-threefold surge in operating profits to £101.5 million at its division that supplies household customers. The Perth-based group said the increase was largely driven by a better performance in the industrial and commercial sector, lower-than-average temperatures leading to an increase in gas consumption, and lower operating costs.

The results came as rival Co-operative Energy blamed ongoing problems with its new IT system after it received the highest ratio of complaints in the third quarter. Figures from the energy ombudsman revealed that Co-operative Energy received 136 complaints per 100,000 customers in the three months to September, 50 per cent higher than any other supplier.

Supermarket group Sainsbury’s said the grocery market remains “challenging” as it reported a slide in half-year profits. The grocer also cut its interim dividend by a fifth to 4p a share as it posted an underlying pre-tax profit of £308m for the 28 weeks to 26 September, down 17.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Telecoms firm TalkTalk said it would take a hit of up to £35m from last month’s cyber attack as it announced a free upgrade for all its customers. The group said it was making the move in “recognition of the unavoidable uncertainty” users faced after hackers accessed the details of 156,959 customers and 15,656 bank account numbers.

CMS was announced as the latest occupier to take up space at 1 West Regent Street, the new 143,000 square foot office development in Glasgow city centre. The law firm, which completed its merger with Dundas & Wilson last year, will join Glasgow-based engineer Weir Group, media organisation Global and professional services companies Arup and FDM in the building.

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