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SSE Profit Rises as Networks Business Counters Generation Drop

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May 22 (Bloomberg) -- SSE Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest energy supplier, said full-year profit rose as its network and retail businesses countered a drop in power generation.

Adjusted pretax profit increased 5.6 percent to 1.41 billion pounds ($2.13 billion) in the year through March from 1.34 billion pounds a year earlier, the Perth, Scotland-based company said today in a statement. That missed the average 1.56 billion-pound estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“A generally good performance in 2012/13 has enabled SSE to extend its unbroken record of annual increases in the full-year dividend and in adjusted profit before tax,” Chairman Robert Smith said in the statement.

SSE said full-year dividend increased 5.1 percent to 84.2 pence a share compared with 80.1 pence the previous year. The utility has paid shareholders an above-inflation dividend every year for the past 14 and is committed to paying a dividend increase greater than RPI inflation for this financial year, it said in the statement.

SSE benefited from regulated rates for power and gas distribution, even as profit for its wholesale business fell 16 percent to 509.5 million pounds due to “challenging market conditions,” the company said in the statement.

Operating profit for the utility’s network’s businesses rose 18.9 percent to 876.1 million pounds while operating profit for its retail business was 410.1 million pounds, compared with 321.6 million pounds a year ago.

The retail business benefited from colder temperatures in Great Britain in each month of the year compared with the previous year, boosting demand for gas and power in homes.

The company said it expects capital investment of 1.5 billion pounds for financial year 2013/14 compared with 1.49 billion for the year to March.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at Sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net