Decision due by May

SSE sets May deadline for decision on retail division

SSE advertisingEnergy firm SSE said it continues to assess “all options” for its retail supply arm, SSE Energy Services, following the collapse of the merger with Npower last year.

In an update ahead of its full-year results in May, the company said these options include progress on potential “external collateral arrangements” that may support the opportunities for a future outside the group.

“Should these options not be viable, SSE would expect to retain Energy Services as a separate entity within the SSE Group. All options are being assessed with the interests of customers, employees and shareholders being given full consideration,” said the company.

SSE intends to give an assessment of its preferred option by the end of May. The market has speculated on a tie-up with Shell Energy.

Meanwhile, the networks business is expected to see a mid-single digit increase in adjusted operating profit, while profit in the business energy, SSE Airtricity and Enterprise arm will see broadly flat profits.

The group also reaffirmed its guidance, saying it expects to deliver adjusted earnings per share of between 64p and 69p, a full-year dividend of 97.5p a share and cash proceeds of more than £1bn from asset disposals.

Finance director Gregor Alexander said: “We are making encouraging progress in our core businesses of regulated energy networks and renewable energy, complemented by flexible thermal generation and business energy sales.

“Our disposals and stake sell-downs have generated over £1bn in proceeds, demonstrating our ability to create value for shareholders from developing and operating world class assets.

“This year has clearly presented significant challenges and uncertainty in the operating environment persists, but our optionality and agility mean we are well placed to deliver on the strategy we presented last year to create value for shareholders and society from developing, owning and operating energy and related infrastructure in a sustainable way, as well as delivering against our five-year dividend plan.”

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