United Utilities first half profit up 4% to £333m

Warrington-based water giant United Utilities said on Wednesday its first-half revenue rose £38 million to £932 million in the six months to September 30 “largely reflecting higher consumption as business activity returns to pre-pandemic levels.”

Underlying operating profit rose 4% to £333 million.

Interim dividend is 14.50p per share, up from 14.41p.

Net debt at September 30, 2021, was £7.4 billion, compared with £7.3 billion at March 31, 2021.

In its 2021-22 full year guidance, United Utilities said revenue is expected to be around 2% higher than 2020-21 and capex (capital expenditure) in 2021-22 is expected to be in the range of £625 million to £675 million reflecting the ongoing acceleration of its AMP7 programme.

AMP7 is the seventh “Asset Management Period” planned by the UK water industry.

United Utilities CEO Steve Mogford said: “At a time when many families are struggling with a higher cost of living, we have reduced typical water bills for households in our region by 6 per cent in real terms over the last two years.

“We’re also offering more help than ever before for vulnerable customers and households that are struggling to pay.

“Climate change and population growth are challenges we must all confront, and we will continue to invest to make our services more resilient and strengthen our ability to respond to, and recover from, extreme weather events.

“Our £2 billion investment programme will also help our region’s economy to grow, generate jobs and develop skills in our communities.

“We’re committed to delivering our six carbon pledges, which will help us achieve our ambition of net zero by 2030.

“We have already delivered our pledge to source 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources.

“As well as reducing our carbon footprint, we are committed to protecting the natural environment and ensuring no net loss of biodiversity.

 “We’ve continued with the great start that we’ve made to AMP7, benefitting from the acceleration of our capital programme and investment in Systems Thinking.

“Our strong operational performance delivers efficiency gains and improvements to outcome delivery incentives, and is enabling us to drive further value for our shareholders.”

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