Notification of Close Period - 27 September 2017

SSE plc will enter its closed period on 1 October 2017, prior to the publication on 8 November 2017 of its financial results for the first six months of the 2017/18 financial year.

SSE focuses on results for the financial year as a whole because results for six month periods can be variable and subject to the impact of shorter-term issues, particularly in the Wholesale and Retail businesses.  For 2017/18 as a whole, SSE continues to expect that its total adjusted operating profit will be impacted by a reduction in Networks adjusted operating profit of around £150m, compared with the previous financial year.

Taking all of this into account, SSE continues to:

  • target an increase in the full-year dividend of at least RPI inflation, with annual increases thereafter of at least RPI inflation also being targeted; and
  • work to keep dividend cover within the expected range of around 1.2 to 1.4 times, although, as previously indicated, for 2017/18 it remains likely to be towards the bottom of that range, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the full- year is likely to be lower than it was in 2016/17.

In line with that, SSE expects to report adjusted EPS for the six months to 30 September 2017 of between 30p and 32p compared with 34.2p in the same period in 2016.  At a divisional level:

  • adjusted operating profit in Networks in the six months to 30 September 2017 is expected to be lower than in the same period in 2016, in line with the expected position for Networks for the financial year as a whole;
  • adjusted operating profit for the six months in Wholesale and Retail is expected to be higher than in the same period in 2016:
    - Wholesale is expected to benefit from improved performance in both the Energy Portfolio Management (EPM) and Generation, and the Gas Production business segments; and
    - Retail is expected to benefit from improved performance in Energy-Related Services and Enterprise.  

Since the publication of its trading statement on 20 July 2017, SSE has:

  • completed the sale of a further stake in Clyde Windfarm (Scotland) limited;
  • successfully launched its inaugural Green Bond, an eight year/€600m euro bond maturing in September 2025, with a coupon of 0.875%; and
  • continued to make good progress with its capital investment programme, which is focused mainly on renewable sources of energy and electricity transmission.

Gregor Alexander, Finance Director, SSE, said:
“We are encouraged with what has been achieved in the first half of the financial year, but    energy provision is always complex, especially in the autumn and winter period.  Our focus is on doing the right things and making the right decisions necessary to secure positive outcomes for customers and investors.  That means maintaining our strong commitment to meeting customers’ energy needs and to delivering for shareholders annual dividend increases that at least keep pace with RPI inflation.”

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  1. Adjusted earnings per share describes earnings per share based on adjusted profit after tax which excludes exceptional items and re-measurements arising from IAS39, deferred tax and interest costs on net pension scheme liabilities. Further details are on pages 101-104 ‘Adjusted Performance Measures’ of SSE’s 2017 Annual Report.
  2. In line with full year 2017/18 expectations, Networks adjusted operating profit in the six months to 30 September 2017 is expected to be lower than in the same period in 2016, mainly due to the phasing of capital expenditure on significant Transmission projects and the resulting impact on regulatory revenue; along with a reduced share of SGN earnings due to the part disposal in October 2016.