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United Utilities revenues fall in challenging Covid-19 period

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United Utilities PLC’s (LON:UU.) underlying profits fell by 21% in the year just ended as revenues fell and the water supplier spent more upgrading its network.

Revenues for the year to end-March 2021 dropped to £1.8bn (£1.86bn) with operating profits of £602mln against £732mln a year earlier and underlying profits of £383mln.

Pre-tax profits rose to £551mln (£303mln) helped by a £151mln positive derivative price swing.

Steve Mogford, chief executive, said the pandemic had been particularly challenging for the region, so it has increased the number of people eligible for extra financial support, with £15 million of new social tariff to help those most in need.

Household bad debts were 2.2% of regulated revenue, UU added, representing a marginal increase of £5mln on the prior year.

At the operational level, UU added it has seen pollution incidents reduced by a third while leakage levels were at their lowest level ever while water supply interruptions halved.

“Protecting and improving the environment is one of our core responsibilities, including the quality of the water we return to our rivers and coastlines,” said Mogford.

“We also have a duty to respond to climate change, which is why we’ve planted two million trees since 1995 and plan to plant another million by 2030. We’ve also spent £250 million to make our services more resilient to changes in weather patterns.”

The dividend for the year rises by 1.5% to 43.24p.

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