A British electricity company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and his family has paid out its biggest ever dividend.
UK Power Networks, which operates the cables and lines that connect the National Grid to millions of homes, paid out £237million to three separate companies, all of which are linked to Li.
UK Power Networks takes 16 per cent of electricity bills in areas that it operates, including London, the South East and East of England – at an average cost of £79 a year to 8.3million households.
The dividend payment for the year to the end of March was revealed in accounts filed at Companies House. It was 33 per cent higher than the previous year and takes the total paid in the past decade to £1.7billion.
UK Power Networks was formed in 2010 after the acquisition of EDF Energy Networks, comprising the former publicly owned London, Eastern and South Eastern electricity boards.
The energy networks are hugely profitable and have been criticised for taking big dividends. Western Power Distribution – which operates in the Midlands, South West and Wales – paid out £200million in the year to March.
A UKPN spokeswoman said the most recent dividend was paid halfway through its financial year and so was 'approved and paid well before Covid-19 started to emerge'.
She added that the company invests £600million a year to maintain its service, adding: 'We have not furloughed any employees or taken advantage of any Government relief schemes.'