Perth energy giant SSE bullish on green investment despite profit blow

Perth-based energy giant SSE expects to take a full-year profit hit of up to £250 million from the coronavirus crisis, which has impacted the demand for power, particularly among industrial users.

Perth-headquartered SSE has become one of the biggest generators of renewable energy in the UK. Picture: John Devlin

In a trading update, the group said the Covid impact on operating profit for the first three months of trading was in line with its expectations, with the total for 2020/21 still anticipated to be in the range of £150m to £250m, before mitigation.

Despite the profit hit, the FTSE 100 company said it would be pressing ahead with its previously announced £7 billion-plus investment to “spur the green economic recovery” including the construction of the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm. It will also continue to pay out its shareholder dividends as planned until 2023.

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Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies told investors: “Throughout the first quarter of 2020/21, our key workers continued to support the national coronavirus response by supporting the safe and reliable supply of electricity.

“Whilst the wider economic implication of the coronavirus continues to impact on the business, we’ve been investing in the green economic recovery and progressing our £7.5bn capex plan of low-carbon investments, primarily in renewables and electricity networks.

“At the same time, we are delivering the comprehensive financial plan we set out last month at our full-year results, continuing work on our disposal programme and successfully issuing over £1bn in hybrid bonds.

“Although the key months of our financial year are still ahead of us, the steps we are taking leave us well placed to deliver on our financial objectives of promoting the long-term success of the company and paying dividends.”

Last month, SSE said adjusted operating profit rose 37 per cent to just under £1.5bn.

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