SSE Plc Rises On Price Cut Announcement

 SSE (LSE: SSE) released a trading statement this morning, covering the third quarter of its financial year and the nine months, to 31 December 2014.  SSE’s share price is currently up just over 1%.

As well as updates in its financial performance, the statement includes the announcement that SEE is to reduce its household gas prices in Great Britain by 4.1% as from 30 April, and will then extend its household gas and electricity price guarantee to at least July 2016. 

The company says that it expects its financial results for the full year, to 31 March 2015, to be in line with the financial outlook given in the interim results statement.  

SSE also says that it still expects that adjusted earnings per share for 2014/15 will be around the level achieved in 2013/14.  The company also says that it anticipates increasing the full-year dividend for 2014/15 by at least the rate of  RPI inflation, and that it will be targeting future increases in the full-year dividend, for 2016 and beyond, of “at least” RPI inflation.

SSE reports that its number of electricity and gas customer accounts in markets in Great Britain and Ireland fell from 9.10m on 31 March 2014 to 8.71m, and that the the prolonged period of mild weather to 31 December 2014 means its household customers in Great Britain consumed an average of 5.6% less electricity and 15.8% less gas.

Commenting on the update, CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies said:

“The challenging business environment we identified at the start of this financial year is likely to continue into the new financial year and we believe that addressing the resulting issues directly is the right thing to do for customers and the best way of safeguarding the interests of investors. That is why, at the same time as reducing tariffs for customers, we’re continuing to make sure our own house is in order for the future, with a clear focus on our value programme to make sure SSE is well-positioned for the long term.”

 At 1,509p, SSE’s share price is up 15% on this time last year, put the FTSE 100’s 2% rise in that time into the shade. But over the longer term SSE is pretty much flat against its index, with both being up 28% over the past five years.

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Jon Wallis owns shares of SSE. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.