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National Grid retains dividend promise despite Covid-19 impact

By BFN News | 07:28 AM | Thursday 18 June, 2020

Power utility National Grid has forecast a potential £1bn hit to cash flow in the 2020/21 financial year due to the impact of COVID-19, as it reported a decline in statutory operating profit for the year ended 31 March 2020. In its annual results, the group announced a 3% fall in statutory operating profit to £2.8bn, while underlying operating profit was up 1% to £3.5bn. National Grid said that the additional costs as a result of COVID-19 will lead to a financial impact in 2020/21 and estimated that the impact on underlying operating profit will be around £400m, with a potential impact of up to £1bn on cash flow by the end of this financial year. It also warned that a weaker economic backdrop could potentially lower US customer revenue collection, affecting cashflow in 2020/21, and that it was assuming additional revenue shortfall in the UK and US due to COVID-19 that will impact both headline earnings and cash flow. In its full-year results, the group reported that capital investment increased by £858m at constant currency to £5.4bn, an increase of 19% which, when combined with RPI inflation, drove group asset growth of 9%. Underlying EPS declined 1% to 58.2p, which the company said was a reflection of improved regulated performance, offset by non-recurrence of prior year one-off benefits. National Grid said it had made continued progress on its 2050 net zero emissions target, having achieved a 70% reduction on its 1990 baseline and with a new interim target to achieve 80% by 2030. The group has recommended a final dividend, bringing the full-year dividend to 48.57p, up 2.6%. Chief executive John Pettigrew said: 'National Grid made good progress in 2019/20. We maintained high levels of reliability across our networks and delivered good financial performance. 'Asset growth of 9% was underpinned by record investment of £5.4bn.' Story provided by

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