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SSE Airtricity makes £6m bad debt provision over coronavirus



SSE Airtricity has recorded an exceptional charge of £6m (€6.7m) as a provision against bad debts arising from the coronavirus in Ireland.

ut it still recorded a profit of £42.8m (€48m) in respect of its operations across the island of Ireland in the 12 months to the end of March, up on the £38.6m (€43m) reported the prior year.

The company, which supports 3,740 jobs here, said it is continuing to advance its Arklow Bank offshore wind project, which it said is “well placed” to help Ireland achieve its Climate Action Plan target of 1GW of offshore wind power by 2025 and 3.5GW by 2030.

SSE said it retains “a strong market position” as Ireland’s largest supplier of 100pc green energy, supplying more than 700,000 customers across the island of Ireland with a 24pc market share.

The SSE group confirmed its full-year dividend and posted a better than expected annual pre-tax profit yesterday, but warned the coronavirus crisis would dent earnings for the current financial year.

The company turned its focus to renewable power generation and networks after selling its household energy supply and services arm to OVO Energy at the beginning of the year in a deal worth £500m.

SSE’s adjusted profit before tax rose to £1.02bn for the 12 months ended March 31, beating analysts’ estimates of £959.3m.

Its shares rose more than 5pc early yesterday in London and had soared more than 9pc by later in the afternoon.

SSE said it would stick with the planned full-year dividend of 80p per share for 2018-19, with the final 56p share payment to be made on September 18, 2020.

“We have put in place a comprehensive plan to achieve the related objectives of sustaining the dividend payments which provides vital income for people’s pensions and savings,” said SSE chairman Richard Gillingwater.

Meanwhile, Budget Energy, the power firm recently acquired by DCC’s Flogas unit, made a pre-tax profit of just over £3m in its last financial year, newly-filed accounts for the business show.

Budget Energy’s main business is in Northern Ireland, but it also launched in the Republic of Ireland in 2017. Budget Energy trades as BE Energy here, and has a total of more than 90,000 customers.

Accounts for the group show that it had just under 70,000 customers at the end of September last year.

Last year, Flogas bought the Irish business of Canadian firm Just Energy.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Irish Independent



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