One of the North’s biggest companies today reported a 15% jump in annual profits.
The Viridian Group – parent company of Northern Ireland Electricity – said pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March were £129m (€187.7m), up from £112.5m (€163.7m) the year before.
Turnover was up 13% at £943.7m (€1.4bn) from £834.2m (€1.2bn) in 2004.
The profit was achieved while the company made a further £72.5m (€105.5m) investment in the NIE network and systems.
Earnings per share was up 14% to 60.8p.
The company declared a final dividend of 25.34p per share, which, together with the interim dividend of 9.84p, gave a total dividend of 35.18p – a 4.5% increase over last year.
Chief executive Patrick Haren said the company had produced a good set of results and said there had been a strong focus on the development of the energy market in the North and the Republic.
Looking forward, he said the all-Ireland market was very important to growth opportunities.
He said: “Our regulated businesses in Northern Ireland have delivered strong contributions while meeting the demands of their price controls.”
Viridian Power & Energy had maintained high availability from its Huntstown power station north of Dublin and successfully grown its supply position across the country.
He said Huntstown had made a “significant increase in its contribution to the group’s profits”.
Mr Haren said further investment in generation was central to the company’s strategy in the Republic and confirmed it intended to begin construction of phase two of the Huntstown power station this summer.