National Grid Reiterates "Positive Outlook"


LONDON -- The shares of National Grid dropped a penny to 700 pence during early London trade after the company confirmed it was "well positioned to deliver another year of good operating and financial performance."

National Grid, which operates the country's electricity and gas transmission networks, said today that the last four months had witnessed "continued solid performance reflecting good financial delivery and sustained investment in attractive long-term growth assets."

The FTSE 100 member also revealed its capital investment during the current year would be £3.6 billion, and that it recently raised £1 billion by issuing new long-term debt.

Steve Holliday, National Grid's chief executive, said: "Our businesses made further progress toward delivering our priorities for the year, underpinned by good financial performance. Sustained investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, combined with a strong focus on efficiency has resulted in another solid operational performance."

Sadly, today's statement provided no clue as to the future of National Grid's dividend, with the payout policy remaining under review as the company continues to study fresh regulatory proposals from Ofgem.

National Grid said it would respond to the watchdog's proposals, which recommend the FTSE company embark on a "significant" investment program during the next eight years, by early March. The firm's new dividend policy is expected to be revealed within May's full-year results.

Published during November, National Grid's first-half results revealed its dividend had been lifted 4% to give a trailing twelve-month payout of 39.84 pence per share. The yield is therefore 5.7%, assuming the upcoming dividend review does not recommend a "rebasing."

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