National Grid profit dips

By Rhys Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Energy network provider National Grid Thursday reported a 3 percent fall in full-year profit, largely due to restructuring costs, but boosted the final dividend and said the outlook was positive.

National Grid, one of the largest investor-owned energy firms in the world, posted a pretax profit of 1.77 billion pounds for the year to the end of March 2009 and increased the final dividend by 8 percent to 35.64 pence per share.

Analysts, on average, expected National Grid to post a pretax profit of 1.77 billion pounds for the year and forecast 2.04 billion for 2009/10, according to Reuters Estimates.

"These results show that, even in these difficult economic times, National Grid's low-risk business model is robust," chief executive Steve Holliday said in a statement.

"We have had a good start to 2009/10 and are confident that it will be another strong year for us."

During the year National Grid paid 587 million pounds in exceptional costs relating to restructuring, its acquisition of KeySpan and the reassessment of its existing commodity contracts.

The group said it had made progress in meeting its expected 2.5 billion pounds funding requirements for 2009/10, having issued or agreed around 1.9 billion of long-term debt since January1 2009.

The gas and power network operator said its operating profit had jumped 12 percent to 2.91 billion pounds.

National Grid invested 3.2 billion pounds last year, increasing its British and U.S. asset bases by 3 and 4 percent, respectively.

The company plans to invest 3.4 billion pounds in 2009/10 and said it expects to deliver a similar level of investment each year until 2012.

Shares in the company, which have lost 10 percent of their value in the last three months, closed at 583 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at around 14.2 billion pounds.

($1=.6592 pounds)

(Editing by Mike Nesbit)

Article Published: 14/05/2009