Belfast Telegraph

SSE Airtricity Energy Supply doubles pre-tax profits to £13.6m

By Margaret Canning and PA

The Northern Ireland subsidiary of energy giant SSE has revealed pre-tax profits of £13.6m —more than double the year before.

SSE Airtricity Energy Supply, which supplies electricity and gas, had a turnover of nearly £297m in the year to March 2014.

It is a subsidiary of SSE Renewables Group UK, which announced adjusted profits before tax of £370.3m.

Economist John Simpson said: “SSE Airtricity has grown rapidly from small beginnings in 2007 to 2009 when it began business selling renewable electricity supplies to a small number of customers.”

He said the recent £297m turnover was 11% higher than a year earlier and over 90% higher than the year before that.

SSE Airtricity is Northern Ireland’s second biggest energy supplier since acquiring Phoenix Supply in 2012, and has a 30% share of the combined electricity and natural gas market.

Power NI is the province’s biggest supplier.

Airtricity, based in the Republic, was acquired by SSE in 2008, and the new entity entered the Northern Ireland market two years later.

Meanwhile, Scottish parent company SSE had profits of more than £370m in the first half of the year, despite an operating loss from the part of the business which sells power to consumers.

SSE’s energy supply business reported an operating loss of £16.9m, with company bosses saying this was a result of the competitive energy market and a sustained period of warm weather.

This, however, is lower than the loss in 2013 when rising costs had forced SSE to increase household energy prices — which it has pledged not to do for this financial year and into next.

Operating profits in its wholesale business fell by a massive 83.4% to £26.7m, as a result of lower electricity output from renewable sources due to the milder weather, and lower profitability in gas production — which slumped by 80.7% to £13.3m.

Overall preliminary results for the six months to the end of September showed that the adjusted profit before tax rose by 4.6% to £370.3m. The power firm also reported total capital expenditure and investment of £679.3m in Britain and Ireland, saying this work would help ensure customers have a secure and affordable supply of energy in future years.

Major investment by SSE also saw the operating profit for electricity transmission rise by 46.3% to £98.9m.

SSE’s capital investment and expenditure for 2014/15 is now forecast to total just under £1.6bn gross over the year.

Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “In tough market conditions we have been able to deliver solid business results at the same time as being a responsible company that does the right thing by its employees and its customers.”

The business disclosed it has lost a further 100,000 customers since June, which adds up to a loss of more than half a million accounts in the past year.

See Business Telegraph on Tuesday for more in depth analysis of SSE Aitricity Energy Supply

Belfast Telegraph