- Power utility SSE warned its annual earnings would be at the lower end of its guidance range, even before including any impact from the Covid-19 crisis, though it kept its dividend plans intact.

Adjusted earnings before shares for the year through March 2020 would be at the bottom end of the company's 83p to 88p range indicated in January.

'This is before any Covid-19-impacts that may become apparent and need to be reflected in the financial statements for the year,' SSE added.

Still, SSE said the wider economic impact of Covid-19 in the UK and Ireland had not so far had any material impact on its financial results for the year.

Consequently, it still planned to recommend a full-year dividend of 80p per share.

SSE said it would continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the wider economy and SSE.

'If the economic impact results in significant adverse effects on SSE's businesses, the board's responses may include reconsidering the timing of dividend payments, should it be in the long-term interests of the company,' it said.

As for the 2021 financial year, SSE said it was too early to forecast Covid-19's impact on the business.

'SSE has a robust business model, but like other companies is operating in an unprecedented situation and is continuing to plan for a range of scenarios in the coming months,' it said.

'In line with the five-year dividend plan set out in May 2018, SSE's target for 2020/21 remains a full-year dividend of 80p per share plus RPI inflation.'

'As stated above, however, it is much too early to forecast the impact of Covid-19 on the UK and Irish economies and therefore on SSE's businesses.'

'As a result, the board's final decision on the quantum and timing of dividend payments in relation to 2020/21 will be taken in light of the extent of the impact of the wider economic situation on SSE's businesses.'

'This final decision will also have regard to the associated expectations of all of SSE's key stakeholder groups; and be in line with its commitment to promote the success of the company for the long-term.'

'In addition, SSE will be reviewing carefully its operational expenditure plans; and also its capital expenditure plans for projects which have not yet reached financial close.'

Story provided by