United Utilities won’t match last year’s £1.73bn

Shares of Warrington-based United Utilities, the UK’s largest listed water company, edged lower after it said in a trading update that its revenue is expected to be slightly lower than last year due to the accounting impact of its Water Plus business retail joint venture.

In the year to March 31, 2016, United Utilities made revenue of £1.73 billion, according to Reuters data.

The company’s shares slipped about 1% to around 998p to give it a current stock market value of around £6.8 billion.

The company, which supplies water across Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “Underlying operating profit for 2016-17 is expected to be moderately higher than 2015-16.”

But it added: “Reported operating profit will be impacted by costs relating to non-household retail market reform and also restructuring within the business. 

“These costs are expected to total around £16 million for the full year, of which £8 million was recognised in the first half.”

United Utilities said regulatory capital investment in 2016-17, including infrastructure renewals expenditure, is expected to be around £800 million and in line with its plan.

The company added: “Our region suffers from high levels of income deprivation and we continue to offer wide-ranging schemes to help customers struggling to pay.

“We are particularly pleased with the results from our billing and collections improvement initiatives, along with innovations in this area that are facilitating enhanced engagement with customers.  

“This is all contributing to improved customer payments, with beneficial implications for bad debt.”