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National Grid in £3.2bn cash call for network upgrade

National Grid is tapping shareholders for a £3.2bn investment to help fund a major update of its ageing network and infrastructure.

The power provider hopes to raise £22bn over the next five years to pay for the programme, and to maintain its credit rating as spending increases.

It made the cash-call shortly after posting underlying pre-tax profits of £1.97bn for the year to the end of March − a 12% increase on prior results.

The group, which owns power and gas networks at home and in the US, said three-quarters of the overall investment figure would be spent in the UK, with 60% going on transmission alone.

Chief executive Steve Holliday said the firm’s focus was on replacing old assets while ensuring networks met regulatory and renewable energy targets.

He explained that the company was “confident about the requirement for a step-up in UK investment”, saying: “The board believes it will allow the group to fund a significant increase in capital investment and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders, whilst maintaining single A credit ratings for our UK operating companies in a more volatile economic environment.”

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