Corbyn nationalisation policies won't affect Irish energy firm plans

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Any re-nationalisation of Britain's energy providers under a Jeremy Corbyn-led government is unlikely to have any impact on the Irish operations of leading UK player SSE, as its business here trades in a separate energy market under a different regulatory regime.

Profits at the Irish division of SSE rose nearly 17% last year.

The company - which trades here as SSE Airtricity - posted an Irish operating profit of £38.6m (€43.7m) for the 12 months to the end of March, up from £33m the previous year. Likewise, the company's Irish revenues improved - rising to almost £1.1bn from £917.6m.

SSE said its group annual earnings fell more than a third as it battled stiff competition and warned of an uncertain outlook due to the Labour party’s plans to renationalise Britain’s energy networks.

While a British election is not due until 2022, and opinion polls show the main opposition party falling far short of a majority, Labour laid out plans this month to offer shareholders less than current market value under a future renationalisation.

“There is a huge degree of uncertainty, including ... what the final form of Labour’s policy will be... about the final content of any legislation; and uncertainty about how and when any legislation would be implemented,” SSE said.

The company, one of Britain’s “big six” energy suppliers, said adjusted earnings fell by just over a third to 67.1p per share.

SSE said the earnings did not include its Energy Services division which is held for disposal following the collapse of a merger with peer Innogy’s npower last year. Profits at the consumer-focused Energy Services business were hit by a regulator-imposed price cap on the most widely used energy tariffs.

SSE said, earlier this year, it has no plans to exit the consumer/retail market in Ireland despite its intention to do just that in the UK.

Labour's plans to nationalise the UK's utilities will damage investment and hurt many small shareholders, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) - one of the country’s main business groups - said.

"Labour’s proposals are not just a threat to these industries but to investment in our country at a time when it’s most needed, and above all to that essential partnership between business and government," CBI president John Allan said.

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