- Power utility SSE posted a rise in first-half profit, boosted by the £500 million sale completed in January of its retail business to Ovo.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June increased to £829.5 million, up from £128.9 million year-on-year.

Adjusted pre-tax profit fell 26% to £193.9 million and adjusted earnings per share fell 34% to 11.9p, within the company's guidance range of 10p to 12.5p.

SSE declared an interim dividend of 24.4p per share, in line with guidance offered in September.

Looking forward, the company said it expected to post adjusted EPS for the full year of 75p to 85p.

The guidance included the impact of Covid-19 and gains on the disposal of stakes in Seagreen and Dogger Bank offshore wind farms.

The full-year impact of the pandemic was expected to be towards the middle of the £150 million-to-£250 million range set out in June.

'The resilience of SSE's business model and the ongoing commitment of our employees are reflected in the strong operational performance we have reported for the first half of 2020/21,' chief executive Richard Gillingwater said.

'Challenges lie ahead - not least in navigating another wave of the pandemic, the potential operational impact of the weather in the second half and the lingering uncertainties around Brexit.'

'But these are far outweighed by the wealth of significant opportunities we have to create value in the transition to net zero emissions.'

Gillingwater said the company's disposals programme was on track, with 'real progress' being made against a capex plan and balance sheet strength present to deliver' an enviable low-carbon development pipeline'.

'In all of this activity we are contributing solutions to the global problem of climate change and ultimately promoting the long-term success of the Company for the benefit of all our stakeholders,' he said.

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