Belfast Telegraph

NI Water posts pre-tax profits of £100m in ‘strong year business performance’

Strategy: Dr Len O’Hagan
Strategy: Dr Len O’Hagan

By Staff Reporter

NI Water has posted pre-tax profits of more than £100m amid “another strong year of business performance”, its chief executive has said.

The Government-owned water supplier said it also invested more than £154m across the network during 2016/17. Overall, revenue rose to £422.4m for the year ending March 31, 2017, according to the annual report published today.

NI Water chairman Dr Len O’Hagan said the utility operator “delivered record levels of wastewater compliance”.

“Water quality compliance remains at near record levels. Much of what we deliver takes place underground or out of sight,” he said.

“In 2016/17 we invested £154.3m to maintain and improve our treatment works and networks. This included the delivery of 172km of water mains, completion of the Carland to Cookstown strategic water trunk main, Co Tyrone and Blackrock Wastewater Treatment Works.”

Dr O’Hagan said the investment “plays an important role in underpinning economic growth”.

“The Ulster University Business School estimates that for every £1 of expenditure by NI Water, the multiplier effect in the local economy is almost double,” he added.

He said efficiencies enabled “us to keep bills affordable for our 80,000 non-domestic customers”.

"Taking into account inflation, our non-domestic customers are paying 12% less, on average, for their water and sewerage services than they did five years ago."

And Sara Venning, NI Water chief executive, said: "Recognising the important role NI Water plays in supporting health, safeguarding the environment and promoting a strong regional economy, I'm delighted to bring forward this report setting out another strong year of business performance.

"We have completed the second year of our six-year business plan, a strong ambitious plan designed to bring services in line with best in class across the industry.  We continue to deliver near record levels of customer service at a lower cost, whilst protecting the environment.

"Over the last decade, we have been leading the challenge on doing more for customers with fewer resources. We have transformed the delivery of water and wastewater services, delivering record levels of service and reaching levels of efficiency on par with some of the leading water companies in England and Wales."

NI Water said that during the last year, it oversaw the "delivery of near record levels of water quality compliance and record levels of wastewater compliance", along with the launch of a new "virtual customer service centre".

"We continue to strengthen our leadership team to implement our strategy," Dr O'Hagan said.

"In January 2017, Paul Harper joined us as our new director of asset delivery as part of a re-organisation to ensure our asset management and capital delivery processes support delivery of our customer promises."

In the latest report, speaking about Brexit, it says there are "uncertainties around future legislation, freedom of movement and economic stability. We have considered the risks and opportunities surrounding Brexit and have established an internal working group to manage its impact".

"The risks and opportunities surrounding Brexit do not form part of NI Water's principal risks and opportunities but are managed as part of NI Water's risk management process."

Meanwhile, the report says: "We have made significant progress in delivering a more resilient water infrastructure. There has been significant reduction in the demand from the 2012 Water Resource Plan. This reduction has been achieved through leakage detection and sustained investment in water mains to reduce leakage, along with reduced household and non-household demand."

Belfast Telegraph