United Utilities revenue tops £1.7bn, but profit falls

Shares of Warrington-based United Utilities, the UK’s largest listed water company, fell more than 3% on Thursday after it said its revenue rose £32 million to £1.736 billion in the year to March 31 but underlying profit before tax fell £19 million to £370 million.

” … the increase in underlying operating profit was more than offset by a £40 million increase in the underlying net finance expense,” said United Utilities.

“The increase in the underlying net finance expense is mainly due to the impact of higher RPI inflation on our index-linked debt.”

United Utilities shares slipped 3.5% to around 775p to give the firm a current stock market value of around £5.5 billion, according to Bloomberg data.

On capital expenditiure (capex), United Utilities said its total regulatory capital investment in the year, including £147 million of infrastructure renewals expenditure, was £816 million.

“As announced today, we are sharing our net outperformance by increasing the additional investment available over the remainder of the 2015-20 regulatory period to improve resilience for customers from £100 million to £250 million.

“This takes our five-year regulatory capex programme to c£3.8 billion.

“In addition, we expect to invest up to £100 million in non-regulated projects, subject to acceptable returns.

“In the first three years of the 2015-20 regulatory period we have invested £59 million in non-regulated projects, primarily in solar power.”

United Utilities CEO Steve Mogford said: “The significant progress we have made positions us well as we look towards the next regulatory period and gives us confidence that we can rise to the longer-term challenges resulting from a growing population, affordability concerns and the impact of more volatile weather.”