LONDON (Alliance News) - SSE PLC on Wednesday reported full-year results "well" short of expectations, with profit comfortably missing the market's expectations.
The firm also announced new leadership at the up-for-sale Energy Services business.
The FTSE 100 utility's adjusted pretax profit slipped 38% year-on-year for the 12 months to March to GBP725.7 million, against analyst consensus of GBP807 million.
SSE's pretax profit on a reported basis increased 59%, however, to GBP1.37 billion.
The adjusted figure includes a GB284.9 million loss forecast in Energy Portfolio Management, while reported figures include GBP1.10 billion of exceptional gains from asset sales.
SSE's revenue for the year was GBP7.33 billion, which has been reduced from GBP27.25 billion due to the company's adoption of the IFRS 15 accounting standard.
SSE has paid a final dividend of 68.2 pence a share, taking the year's total to 97.5p, in line with current plans. This is 2.9% higher than the 94.7p paid out a year prior.
Looking ahead, SSE confirmed plans to return 80p a year for the newly begun financial year.
SSE will buyback further shares, on top of its existing GBP200 million programme, if the take up of the scrip alternative to its dividend exceeds 20%.
Adjusted net debt at the year's end was GBP9.39 billion, and this is set to be around GBP10 million at the end of March 2020.
"While our financial results clearly fell well short of what we hoped to achieve at the start of the year, we've made significant progress towards our ambition to be a leading energy company in a low-carbon world," said Chair Richard Gillingwater.
"We have continued to develop our core businesses of regulated energy networks and renewables; demonstrated our ability to create and unlock value from developing and operating, as well as owning, assets; and adopted clear long-term goals as we set up the business for long-term success," he continued.
"The fundamental strengths of our business and the strategic opportunities afforded by the transition to a low-carbon economy will support the delivery of our five-year dividend plan and creation of value for society as a whole."
Adjusted operating profit will improve in the new financial year, SSE said, but the result will likely be hit by the phasing of Electricity Networks profit and by renewables output being hedged at less than current market prices.
At Energy Services, SSE has appointed Katie Bickerstaffe as executive chair of the unit to oversee its future. Energy Services is on track for a listing, or new ownership, by the second half of 2020.
Gordon Boyd has been appointed as interim finance chief at the division to aid Bickerstaffe, who is to set up a new board for the division.
Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: "Over the past 18 months, we've made significant progress in terms of physical, legal and structural separation of SSE Energy Services from the rest of the SSE group.
"At the same time, the business has performed well operationally. The steps we're now taking through Katie's appointment, the creation of a new dedicated board and a potential deal for the provision of independent collateral and trading facilities mean SSE Energy Services could operate on a standalone basis and will, therefore, be well prepared for a future outside the SSE group."
SSE also confirmed group Chair Richard Gillingwater has agreed to stay until no later than March 2021. A search for a new chair will start during 2019.