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Energy Assets reports surge in first-half profits

Phil Bellamy-Lee, chief executive of Energy Assets said he shared investors' disappointment at its share price performance since March's listing on the stock market as the Scottish meter firm saw a 38% rise in underlying first-half profit.

Energy Assets was the first Scottish company to list on the main market for nearly five years when it went public at 210p a share eight months ago. Its stock has been as low as 161p.

It finished at 191p by yesterday's close.

This was despite a 3.8% or 7p fillip given to the stock yesterday after it posted pre-tax earnings of £1.8 mil-lion, before exceptional items, up from £1.3m in the same period last year.

Including exceptional items, pre-tax earnings rose by £200,000 to £1.5m.

Mr Bellamy-Lee told The Herald: "I think we would share the disappointment and frustration in the share price."

Finance director John McMorrow highlighted a "strong set of numbers" for the six-month period.

"We still continue to go from strength to strength," he said. "I think in time the market will see that and our share price should get to where it should be.

"I think the share price doesn't reflect anything the business is doing from an operational point of view."

Livingston-based Energy Assets posted a 27% year-on-year rise in revenue to £7.6m. Of this 66% or £5m was recurring, a 32% rise on last year, as it reaped the benefits of increasing its installed base of meters.

Last month it bought Russian-owned Gazprom Global Energy Solutions for £13.5m.

With Gazprom accounting for around 14% of the UK's industrial and commercial gas meters, Energy Assets has deals giving it access to about one-quarter of the market.

Energy Assets yesterday announced a revamped contract with Danish-owned Dong Energy Sales that will widen the services offered by Energy Assets.

Dong Energy Sales was a Gazprom customer.

Mr Bellamy-Lee said: "We are delighted that Dong Energy has continued to place its trust in Energy Assets' capabilities and technology. The agreement provides Energy Assets with a further opportunity to continue its growth strategy."

He said there are no plans for further purchases.

Julian Carter, analyst at Energy Assets' house broker Canaccord Genuity, said: "We believe that Energy Assets' record of undertaking meter replacements at scale [not achieved by any other independent provider], and its bespoke end-to-end digital systems, position it well in its ongoing negotiations with a number of other gas suppliers on potential meter replacement contracts."

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