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Power firms say demand is set to rise

Shares in utility giants E.On and International Power rose yesterday, after both cautiously anticipated a surge in demand for power as the world emerges from the downturn.<br /><br />But rival Scottish &amp; Southern Energy (SSE), which reiterated its forecast of an increase in adjusted pre-tax profit for the year, dampened the mood, saying it did not expect any improvement in the UK&rsquo;s economy during 2010. <br /><br />In fact, SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said energy consumption in Britain would not increase before 2013 at the earliest. <br /><br />International Power, which has been the second worst performing European utility share over the last month, saw its stocks close up 2.6 per cent at 264.30p, after raising its profit guidance yesterday, while E.On closed up 1.2 per cent at &euro;27.25 (&pound;24.63).<br /><br />International Power, which has interests in power stations around the world, said yesterday it expected its full-year profits for 2009 to be broadly in line with last year&rsquo;s, having said they would be down year-on-year back in August.<br /><br />And Marcus Schenck, chief financial officer of E.On &ndash; the world&rsquo;s largest utility &ndash; said &ldquo;the worst part of the crisis is behind us&rdquo;. It reiterated its expectations for adjusted earnings before interest and taxes to remain unchanged and increased its expectations for adjusted net income because of lower interest payments.