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Thu 20 Oct 2016 10:43 AM

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Saudi Electricity's Q3 net profit jumps 50% to $1.1bn

Saudi government decided to raise electricity, water and fuel prices to ease the burden of subsidies on its budget

Saudi Electricity's Q3 net profit jumps 50% to $1.1bn

Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) reported a 50.8 percent jump in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, as higher operating income and cost savings boosted the earnings of the Gulf's largest utility.

The company, which the government aims to break up into four power generation companies to improve efficiency, made a profit of 4.40 billion riyals ($1.17 billion) in the three months to Sept. 30.

This compares with a profit of 2.92 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier.

NCB Capital had forecast the firm would make a quarterly profit of 1.90 billion riyals.

The utility cited a 30.3 percent advance in net operating income to 17.2 billion riyals, as well as "improved efficiency in spite of higher fuel prices", for the earnings increase. It didn't elaborate.

Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.

The Saudi government has decided to raise electricity, water and fuel prices to ease the burden of subsidies on its budget, although Saudi officials have said the increase will unlikely change the projected growth in demand, which has been at around 8 percent per year.

SEC has said the price changes would roughly balance out in its earnings, as the rise in costs associated with higher fuel prices would offset increased revenues from electricity sales.

SEC's results are acutely seasonal because of the big swing between power demand in winter and summer, when high temperatures lead most homes and businesses to use more air conditioning.

The authorities had planned to break up SEC by the end of the year, although this process is being reviewed, sources aware of the matter told Reuters in May.

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