National Grid (LON:NG) saw its annual profits rise last year, the blue-chip company has said. The blue-chip grid operator, however, expects its earnings per share to decline after selling its natural gas distribution business.
National Grid’s share price has been volatile in today’s session, having shed 1.23 percent to 1,048.00p as of 14:26 BST, having traded more than one percent higher earlier in the session. The group’s shares have added nearly five percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some 10 percent in the year-to-date.
National Grid announced today in a statement that its operating profit had climbed 14 percent to £4.67 billion in the year ended March 31, while its profit before tax came in 13 percent higher at £3.56 billion. The FTSE 100 company raised its dividend by 2.1 percent to 44.27 pence and signalled that it would maintain its policy of increasing its payout to shareholders by at least as much as the UK inflation rate.
“Last year was an important year for National Grid. We invested record capex of £4.5 billion delivering a safe and reliable service for customers,” the company’s chief executive John Pettigrew commented in the statement, adding that the company was ‘well positioned for the future’.
Bloomberg meanwhile reported that National Grid had told investors in a conference call that it expected its underlying earnings per share to be about 10 percent lower under the company’s smaller structure, as the group sold 61 percent of its UK gas distribution business.
“We are not necessarily seeing the load growth on the gas side that you would have seen 10 years ago,” Pettigrew told the newswire by phone. “The growth was starting to diminish.”