- Power utility SSE reiterated its annual earnings guidance after a worse-than-expected impact from weather conditions was offset by a smaller-than-expected hit from Covid-19.

SSE reaffirmed its guidance for adjusted earnings per share in the year through March of between 85p and 90p.

Weather conditions had meant that a previously flagged shortfall in output from renewable sources had increased from 5% below plan for the nine months to 31 December 2020, to around 9% below plan as at 23 March.

'However, SSE now expects the impact of coronavirus on adjusted operating profit to be around £180 million for the full year, compared to the previously forecast £150 million - £250 million range.'

Net debt was now expected to be around £9 billion at 31 March 2021.

SSE said it intended to recommend a full-year dividend of 80p per share plus the retail price index for 2020/21 and continued to target annual RPI increases to 2023 as set out in its five-year dividend plan.

'It has been a uniquely challenging year for us all, but, thanks to strong operational performance and delivery against our net-zero strategy throughout 2020/21, we are on course to meet our financial objectives for the year,' finance director Gregor Alexander said.

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