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UPDATE 1-Telecom Plus sees profit ahead on energy hike
February 14, 2011 / 8:01 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Telecom Plus sees profit ahead on energy hike

* Says H2 performance boosted by higher prices, cold snap

* Full year dividend at 22 pence per share

* Bad weather hits customer growth in Q3 vs Q2

(Adds details)

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - British utility services group Telecom Plus (TEP.L) said full-year profit will be slightly ahead of market expectations after benefiting from higher energy prices and greater consumption during the cold snap in December.

The company, which supplies gas, electricity, telephony and broadband under the Utility Warehouse brand, said it would recommend a final dividend of 14 pence, totalling 22 pence per share for the year.

“Our financial performance for the second half of the current financial year will reflect a small positive contribution from the impact of the latest retail energy price increases, as well as from the recent cold weather,” said the company in a statement on Monday.

It added that the financial benefits of these factors will be offset by an increase in bad debt charges, as customers struggle to pay for higher bills.

The bad weather also led to a slightly lower rate of growth in customer numbers during the third quarter.

The company said the December re-launch of its mobile service with new tariffs have been well received and that it is committed to building its share of that market in the next few years.

Shares in the company, which will announce its full-year results in May, closed at 465.50 pence on Friday, valuing the business at just over 321 million pounds ($515.8 million). ($1=.6223 Pound)

Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Lorraine Turner

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