Energy giant SSE has agreed a near-£1 billion deal to sell its stake in three energy-from-waste facilities under plans to raise at least £2 billion by next autumn.

Shares in the group rose 4% as it announced the sale of its 50% holding in the West Yorkshire multifuel sites for £995 million.

SSE was part of a joint venture on two sites in Ferrybridge and one in Skelton Grange.

The sale - to an infrastructure fund managed by First Sentier Investors - comes as part of an aim to raise at least £2 billion by selling off unwanted assets.

Perth-based SSE will continue to focus on its wind farm operations.

READ MORE: Are energy firms doing their bit to fuel green recovery?

Finance chief Gregor Alexander said: "This sale marks a major step in our plans to secure at least £2 billion from disposals by autumn 2021, with just over £1.4 billion now delivered.

"While these multifuel assets have been successful ventures for SSE, they are non-core investments and we are pleased to have agreed a sale that delivers significant value for shareholders while sharpening our strategic focus on our core low-carbon businesses."

The latest sale follows that of SSE's stake in Walney Offshore Wind Farm to Greencoat UK energy for £350 million, and an agreement to sell its 33% interest in meter asset provider MapleCo for around £90 million in net proceeds.

Mark Nelson, an analyst at Killik & Co, said: "The divestments will help to strengthen the balance sheet and support the company's plans to invest £7.5 billion in low-carbon energy infrastructure over the next five years."

He added the latest sale will boost SSE's increased focus on electricity networks and renewable energy, in particular UK offshore wind.

HeraldScotland: Supermarkets saw a surgeSupermarkets saw a surge

People flocked to supermarkets as Eat Out to Help Out ended

The end of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and new Covid-19 restrictions introduced last month saw shoppers flock to supermarkets in huge numbers although without the same panic-buying seen in March, according to new data.

READ MORE: The surge came in the four weeks to October 4, with sales increasing 10.6% - above the 9.4% recorded across the 12-week period to October 4, according to Kantar.

Unemployment rate steady

Scotland's unemployment rate has remained at 4.5 per cent over the summer, latest figures show.

READ MORE: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data that indicated 124,000 people had been seeking work, with the employment rate rising slightly to 73.9 per cent from June to August. ​

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