· Maintained strong reliability and safety across all networks
· Decided to exercise Cadent 39% options; sale completion in June 2019 providing £2bn cash proceeds
· Reached major milestone in the US with all distribution companies under refreshed rates
· Approved £850m investment to proceed with Viking interconnector
· Launched UK cost efficiency and restructuring programme
· Underlying operating profit down 6% to £1.3bn, primarily from expected return of Gas Transmission allowances and US tax reform, partially offset by favourable legal settlements of £94m
· Underlying EPS of 19.7p, up 1.2p, reflecting a lower tax rate and reduced share count
· Statutory EPS (continuing) of 12.7p after exceptional charges: UK cost efficiency and restructuring programme £127m; Massachusetts Gas workforce contingency plan £97m
· Interim dividend 16.08p/share, up 3.8% in line with policy
· Capital investment £2.1bn, up 7%
Interim dividend of 16.08p, increased in line with policy
The Board has approved an interim dividend of 16.08p per ordinary share ($1.0616 per American Depositary Share). This represents 35% of the total dividend per share of 45.93p in respect of the last financial year to 31 March 2018 and is in line with the Group's dividend policy. The interim dividend is expected to be paid on 9 January 2019 to shareholders on the register as at 23 November 2018.
The Group's dividend policy is to aim to grow the ordinary dividend per share at least in line with the rate of UK RPI inflation each year for the foreseeable future. The 2018/19 interim dividend of 16.08p represents a 0.59p (3.8%) increase over the interim dividend for the year ended 31 March 2018 of 15.49p.
The scrip dividend alternative will again be offered in respect of the 2018/19 interim dividend. As previously announced, we do not expect to buy back the scrip shares issued during 2018/19 or 2019/20, unless there is sufficient balance sheet capacity.
https://www.investegate.co.uk/national- ... 00127052G/