* Full-year profit rises 1 percent
* U.S. capex to rise to $2.5 billion
* EPS at 54 pence, above expectations
(Recasts to focus on U.S. spending, adds details, share price,
LONDON, May 15 British energy network operator
National Grid will spend more money on its U.S. business
in coming years to help protect its cables and pipelines against
heavy storms, it said on Thursday.
The company, which reported a 1 percent rise in annual
profit, expects capital expenditure in the United States to rise
to $2.5 billion, Chief Executive Steve Holliday said, from
around $2 billion spent in the 2013/14 financial year.
National Grid's assets are exposed to increasingly severe
weather conditions like thunderstorms and flooding, the effects
of which cost the company up to 60 million pounds ($101
million)in the ice-storm that hit the United States over the
The company also announced on Thursday higher-than-expected
earnings per share of 54 pence for the year ended March 31,
benefiting from new regulated prices it charges for using its
cables and pipelines.
"The outlook for National Grid remains strong and relatively
low risk," said equity analysts at Liberum.
Shares in National Grid were trading 0.3 percent lower at
859 pence at 0828 GMT.
The firm, which runs Britain's electricity and gas
pipelines, also warned that spare electricity production
capacity would tighten again this winter as around 1,700
megawatts of power generation will be shut down.
"Nobody will ever guarantee the lights won't go off ... But
everything being normal, we should be able to do our job and
keep the system in balance over the course of the winter,"
Britain is facing an electricity capacity crunch as
unprofitable and polluting power plants are closed down, while
new stations are slow to start operating.
National Grid is likely to start implementing a new
mechanism this winter whereby contracted energy consumers reduce
their demand at times of high pressure on the electricity
The company's full-year operating profit rose 1 percent
year-on-year to 3.66 billion pounds and it said it had invested
more than 3.4 billion on improving its infrastructure assets.
The firm also said it expected to pay a full-year dividend
of 42.03 pence a share, up 3 percent on the previous year.
($1 = 0.5960 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by David Goodman and Mark