Lancashire water giant turns on the taps for investors and promises £100m new investment in
The firm that delivers water to three million homes and 200,000 businesses in the North West has splashed out on shareholders as it saw profits rise.
United Utilities upped its dividend by 3.9 per cent to a total of 41.28 pence after seeing underlying operating profit rise £40m to £685m for the year ending March 2019.
Revenue was up £83m compared to the year before, at £1,819 m.
However, the firm said its reported operating profit was down £1m to £635m, after being hit by one off costs of £36m associated with the dry weather in 2018 and pension liabilities.
But the firm said it would be pressing ahead with new investment with an extra £100m this year to speed up its spending plan for the start of the next decade.
Steve Mogford, chief executive officer, said: “We are increasing our additional investment by another £100m, to total £350m, to accelerate the delivery of further performance improvements and facilitate a flying start to the next regulatory period.
“We are well placed for the remainder of the current regulatory period and beyond as we maintain our focus on providing great service.”
The company was keen to stress its community credentials amid regulator pressure and a possible threat of re-nationalisation under a future Labour government.
Mr Mogford said: “Always operating in the best interests of customers is at the very heart of our operations and this is reflected in our best ever customer satisfaction scores. We have taken the lead in transforming how the sector supports customers, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances, and have delivered more for customers whilst reducing bills by 10 per cent in real terms since 2010.