National Grid hikes dividend on strong year

Suzie Neuwirth
ENERGY network operator National Grid yesterday unveiled “a strong first year” under new price controls set by the regulator, posting a two per cent rise in full-year profits and hiking its dividend by 2.9 per cent.

“National Grid delivered a solid year of financial performance, led by a good start to our eight-year price controls in the UK and consolidation of underlying operational improvements in our US operations,” said chief executive Steve Holliday.

As network operators work as monopolies, the regulator Ofgem set out the new RIIO price controls to ensure costs are kept down.

The FTSE 100 firm’s UK business has undergone an operational restructuring over the past year, generating £70m of savings, which it says will contribute to reducing customers’ energy bills from next winter. “National Grid’s share of these efficiencies contributed to the delivery of a strong start to the...price control,” it said.

Earnings per share rose five per cent last year to 54p, beating analysts’ expectations, although much of this was due to one-off tax savings. Adjusted pre-tax profits rose to £2.58bn. Shares rose 0.3 per cent.