Viridian Group said on Wednesday that half year trading was in line with its expectations and that it still planned to raise its yearly dividend over the next four years.

Northern Ireland's main electricity supplier said in a statement that, subject to no unforeseen circumstances, it intended to raise the annual shareholder payout by 6.5 percent for the four year period to March 2010.

This follows dividend increases of 4.9 percent in 2005/06 and 4.5 percent in 2004/05, Viridian said.

The group's results for the six months to September 30 are anticipated to be in line with our expectations, with a net pension scheme interest credit ... and a lower current tax charge offsetting a lower contribution from Viridian Power & Energy (VP&E) and last year's property profits, it said.

In May, Viridian, which has gained a strong foothold in the Republic of Ireland in recent years, said VP&E's operating profit eased to 24.1 million pounds for the year to end March from 25 million pounds previously as higher fuel costs ate into margins.

Underlying operating profit rose 11 percent to 132.4 pounds for the last full financial year, with pretax profit rising to almost 130 million pounds from 72 million previously.

The Dublin and London listed firm said it expects to publish its interim results on November 14.

Viridian's shares closed at 1,067 pence in London on Tuesday, valuing the business at around 1.3 billion pounds.