LONDON -- SSE (LSE:SSE) this morning released its preliminary results for the year ended March 31, 2013, with the announcement that pre-tax profits soared 5.6% year on year to £1.4 billion. The statement revealed that average household gas consumption in Great Britain rose 21%, while electricity consumption increased 5%.
This helped the energy firm to increase its full-year dividend by 5.1%, to 84.2 pence, which puts SSE on a decent yield of 5% at a share price of 1,671 pence (having slipped marginally in early trade by less than 0.5%). The group has also pledged to increase its annual dividend above RPI inflation in 2013/2014 and beyond.
SSE was boosted by the cold weather extending into spring that saw many households use more gas than they normally would at the time of year, though it overcame extreme snow falls and ice in the west of Scotland that inflicted "unprecedented damage on the electricity network on Arran and Kintyre".
It did, however, report that the number of energy customer accounts that it holds in GB and Ireland fell 0.8% to 9.47 million, while further negative sentiment includes the £10.5 million penalty from the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority for "breaches of license conditions".
With CEO Ian Marchant due to step down at the end of next month, investors will be wondering whether his replacement can continue steering SSE in the right direction.
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