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United Utilities profits slump 26% as inflation hits financing costs

Published 23/11/2016

United Utilities said revenue faltered due to the accounting impact of its Water Plus joint venture with Severn Trent
United Utilities said revenue faltered due to the accounting impact of its Water Plus joint venture with Severn Trent

Profits at water giant United Utilities slumped in the first half of the year as it was hit by rising financing costs.

The UK's largest listed water company said pre-tax profits fell more than 26% to £158.4 million in the six months to September 30.

The group said the fall was linked to higher inflation pushing up interest charges on its debt, resulting in a £19 million increase in finance expenses.

Revenue also faltered, falling by £4 million to £853 million, which the Warrington-based firm said was linked to the accounting impact of its Water Plus joint venture with Severn Trent.

However, underlying operating profit came in 1% higher at £312.5 million as the firm hailed improvements in customer satisfaction.

Boss Steve Mogford said: "This has been a strong first-half performance in which we made significant progress towards meeting our customer, environmental and financial targets.

"Customer service has again improved, resulting in our best score under Ofwat's revised service incentive mechanism.

"We're continuing to enhance our customer service offering and recently launched Priority Services, to provide dedicated support for those who are experiencing short or long-term personal or financial challenges."

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