Scottish Power said falling costs and rate increases in the US helped the UK's biggest electric util...
Scottish Power said falling costs and rate increases in the US helped the UK's biggest electric utility post better-than-expected profit.
Pre-tax profit before costs from selling its Southern Water unit fell 9.7% to £567m in the year through to March 2002, chief executive officer Ian Russell said. Analysts had expected a decline of 14%.
The owner of Pacificorp, the Oregon-based utility that lost $300m last year on a wrong bet on power prices, benefited as prices fell in the second half, reducing the cost of buying supply on the spot market. It's focusing on lifting profit in the US, where it makes half of its sales, and not acquisitions. 'There were no black holes this time,'' said Gareth Lewis-Davies, an analyst at Lehman Brothers who has a 'strong buy'' rating on the stock. 'The bad surprises were announced earlier.''
The shares rose by 19p, or 4.8%, to 414p. They have risen 11% this year, while the benchmark FTSE 100 index has changed little.
The company sold Southern Water to First Aqua last month for £2.05bn. It had a net loss of £1.04bn, or 56.13p a share, for the three months through March, from a profit of £108.3m, or 5.89p, in the year-ago period as it wrote down goodwill and other costs from the disposal.
'The past year has been difficult for Scottish Power,'' said Russell. 'Still, results through the second half of the year showed continuing improvement and earnings per share were 45% higher than the same period a year ago,' he said.
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