Belfast Telegraph

Company Report: SSE Airtricity

By John Simpson

SSE Airtricity Energy Supply (NI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of SSE Group UK. The company is a major supplier of renewable electricity to many domestic households and commercial businesses in Northern Ireland.

The principal activity of the company is described as the purchase and sale of electricity generated from renewable energy.

The electricity is purchased from other companies in the SSE group, as well as from third parties.

SSE Airtricity has grown rapidly from small beginnings in 2007-09 when it began business. In 2013-14, turnover peaked at £297m and was 11% higher than a year earlier.

Since 2013-14 turnover has decreased in each year, although the company report does not suggest whether the reduction is a reflection of lower achieved selling prices or a fall in the volume of overall consumption

Since the company is a large distributor of electricity, profit margins are largely determined by the margins between purchase costs and retail prices.

As the company has built up market share by offering retail price advantages for customers, its success relies on the ability to run a small, efficient (IT-led)

organisation and combine this with successful wholesale purchasing arrangements.

The stated trading results in the two most recent years are heavily influenced by the adjustment of operating profits and pre-tax profits for the effect of using derivative contracts affecting purchasing costs. 

Without this adjustment, operating profits (and pre-tax profits) would have been £4.5m higher in the year to March 2016. 

In similar vein, operating profits in the year to March 2017 would have been £11.5m lower.

No dividend has been paid to the parent shareholder in recent years.

SSE Airtricity Energy has increased the number of direct employees to 115 in 2016-17; up 31% on a year earlier.

Belfast Telegraph

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