- Smart meter installer and manager Smart Metering Systems posted a large first-half profit after it benefited from an asset disposal and said it would up its dividend by 10% a year.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June amounted to £194.5m, compared to a loss of £1.7m on-year, and included a gain on the £290.6m sale of a minority of its meter assets from the I&C portfolio in April.

Revenue was flat at £54.2m and underlying pre-tax profit nearly doubled to £9.1m, up from £4.6m.

Smart Metering Systems said it intended to pay a dividend of 25p per share for the 2020 financial year, paid in four instalments starting October.

It also intended to up its dividend by 10% per year until the 2024 financial year, covered by long-term index-linked cash flows from its existing metering and data asset base.

'We have delivered a robust financial performance in the face of a highly challenging operating environment in the first half of 2020,' chief executive Alan Foy said.

'The completion of a disposal of a minority of our I&C meter asset portfolio in April has further underscored the attractive nature of the meter asset class, provided balance sheet strength and enabled us to substantially increase the 2020 financial year dividend.'

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