The UK’s power transmission operator National Grid (NG.) reported slightly better than expected pre-tax profit for the half year ended 30 September, at £785m, giving the shares a 1% boost to 901p.

Chief executive John Pettigrew said, ‘in the first half of this year we have delivered solid financial performance and continued to deliver strong organic growth at the top end of the 5 to 7% range.’

The FTSE 100-listed company ran into trouble after a blackout due to a lightning strike in August that left more than a million customers including homes, businesses, a hospital and Newcastle Airport without power.

National Grid said that it is working with the regulator on its investigations into the black out and believes that it operated within the terms of its license, while also recognizing the disruption it caused.

The company is also facing regulatory concerns in the US where New York and Long Island governor Andrew Cuomo has said that it failed to provide an adequate and reliable service. However National Grid is confident that it can address the issue within the time period allowed.

NEW EMISSIONS TARGETS

The company has announced that it has set a new target target to be 100% net emissions free by 2050, up from 80% previously. This will be achieved alongside increasing efficiency across the business. National Grid expects to achieve £50m of operational savings in the current financial year and £100m the following year.

DIVIDEND AND OUTLOOK

The group expects to deliver 7% asset growth over the near-term and to provide a dividend that grows at least in line with inflation. The board approved an interim dividend of 16.57p to be paid on 15 January.

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Issue Date: 14 Nov 2019