National Grid Profit Stable as Flood Defenses Help in Storms

May 15, 2014 4:05 am ET

(Updates with CEO comments in third paragraph.)

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- National Grid Plc, the operator of energy networks in the U.K., said profit was stable as flood defense investment helped it cope with a stormy British winter.

Operating profit rose to 3.66 billion pounds ($6.1 billion) in the year through March from 3.64 billion pounds, the London- based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Investment in flood defenses in previous years helped the company withstand “exceptionally” wet weather and flooding in Britain.

“Many of our substations are built in very low-lying valleys and over the past five to six years we’ve been installing flood defenses around those facilities to make sure they can withstand the floods,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Holliday, said today by phone. “Some of those substations, had we not installed the flood defenses, would have been under water and there would have been major interruptions to power supply.”

Savings in capital and operating costs of about 70 million pounds will help shave just under 3 pounds a year off customer bills from 2015, Holliday said. The company expects to pay a full-year dividend of 42.03 pence a share for the year ended March 31, up from 40.85 pence.

“During the year we invested over 3.4 billion pounds in essential infrastructure while delivering one of our best years ever in terms of network reliability and resilience,” Holliday said in the statement.