Record start to 2014 sees SMS reward shareholders

SMART Metering Systems (SMS), the Glasgow-based utility services business, today announced record results and said a recent contract win from the business arm of British Gas would help it deliver further growth in the years ahead.

SMG chairman Chris Masters. Picture: Sandy Young
SMG chairman Chris Masters. Picture: Sandy Young

Shareholders in the company, which supplies utility meters on behalf of many major energy suppliers, will be rewarded with a 34 per cent rise in their dividend after first-half profits surged by 39 per cent.

Chief executive Alan Foy said the period had seen a number of milestones for the Aim-quoted firm, including the £14 million acquisition of Utility Partnership – which saw SMS move into the electricity market – and a major contract win with Business Gas Business.

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“We are especially excited that we can now offer our expanded customer base a full gas and electricity proposition, following SMS’s acquisition of Utility Partnership in the first half of 2014,” said Foy.

“SMS looks forward with confidence to the opportunities in the UK and internationally as we drive our vision to be the leading independent provider of smart metering solutions to suppliers in the utility sector with the highest levels of customer service.”

The acquisition of Utility Partnership added 168 staff to SMS, which now employs more than 290, and helped sales increase by 44 per cent to £18.9m.

Recurring revenues from meter rental grew by 43 per cent to £8.6m. Pre-tax profits increased to £4.6m from £3.3m and the interim dividend, to be paid on 21 November, will rise to 0.94p a share.

The total number of meters in its portfolio increased by 13 per cent to 534,000 and SMS said its ability to offer both gas and electricity meters strengthened the potential for it to take advantage of opportunities in the domestic meter market ahead of the rollout of smart meters across the UK.

Meanwhile, fellow Scottish meter business Energy Assets, which is listed on the main London market, yesterday said current trading remained “encouraging” following last year’s jump in profits.

The Livingston-based firm said the number of meters and data points it owns and manages grew to about 327,000 by the end of July, up from 163,500 in March and boosted by the acquisition of electric meter specialist BGlobal.

In July, the group won a deal to install advanced meters for about half of British Gas’s industrial and commercial customers across the UK.

Chairman Chris Masters said: “Trading in the current financial year continues to be encouraging and the group delivered a strong performance in the first quarter to 30 June.”

First-half results are due to be released on 11 November. In June, Energy Assets reported a 38 per cent surge in annual operating profits to £9.8 million, on revenues 34 per cent higher at £24.2m. Shares in SMS closed up 13.75p at 393.75p and in Energy Assets they gained 0.5p to end at 403p.