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UK Sparks: OVO Energy Pays £500m For SSE’s Supply Business


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Power group SSE is selling its Energy Services electricity and gas supply business to OVO Energy for £500m. The sale, for £400m cash and £100m in loan notes, will allow SSE to focus on its renewable energy and electricity network assets. It will make OVO Britain’s second-biggest supplier, bringing together the 3.5 million households served by SSE with 1.5 million OVO customers. The deal follows last year’s collapse of an attempted merger of SSE’s supply arm with Npower.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies says: “We have long believed that a dedicated, focused and independent retailer will ultimately best serve customers, employees and other stakeholders and this is an excellent opportunity to make that happen.”

Pubs chain JD Wetherspoon has announced a 4.5% fall in full-year pre-tax profits before exceptional items to £103m on revenues 7.4% higher at £1.81bn. Like-for-like sales increased by 6.8% and this performance has carried over into the current financial year, with like-for-like sales up 5.9% in the six weeks to September 8. The group’s operating margin fell from 7.8% to 7.3%. After exceptional items, pre-tax profits increased by 7.2% from £89m to £95.4m. Chairman Tim Martin says the group anticipates a “reasonable outcome” for the current financial year.

Sthree, the specialist staffing business focused on roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has issued a third-quarter trading update, detailing a 4% rise in group net fees to £87.8m. The performance follows growth of 9% in the first and second quarters. However, the group says that when adjusted for the number of working days in the quarter, the third-quarter increase was 6%.

Finally, Kath Kearney-Croft is leaving her position as finance director of photography and video products company Vitec Group to pursue other opportunities.  Martin Green, director of group business development, will become acting finance director while a permanent replacement is sought.

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