National Grid expects jump in annual profits

BRITAIN’S biggest utility National Grid said it expects to report a significant increase in full-year profit, boosted by favourable weather conditions and growth at its US operations.

“The strong momentum seen in the first half has continued and has further improved, driven by cold winter weather following the hot weather in the US in the summer,” the gas and electricity transmission company said in a statement.

The performance also prompted the company to recommend an eight per cent increase to its full-year dividend.

Separately, National Grid said it would reduce about 1,200 positions across the US, or about seven per cent of its direct workforce in that country, resulting in annual cost savings of about $200m.

The news comes hot on the heels of suggestions the firm was poised to cut 400 British jobs, after an email outlining the redundancies was sent to rank and file staff in error.

The firm also said it was reshuffling its executive team.

Nick Winser is to become executive director in the UK, with responsibility for the UK gas distribution business, while Mark Fairbairn, executive director of gas distribution, will step down from the board and leave the firm at the end of March.

Shares in National Grid added 1.2 per cent to close at 552.5p.