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27 May 2021 | 07:03

United Utilities ups dividend as lower bills hit profit

(Sharecast News) - United Utilities raised its dividend in line with its policy as the water company reported a 21% drop in annual profit caused mainly by lower water bills. Underlying profit after tax fell by £103m to £383m in the year to the end of March from a year earlier as revenue dropped to £1.81bn from £1.86bn.

The company said the drop in profit was in line with expectations. Reported operating profit fell to £602.1m from £630.3m.

United Utilities proposed a final dividend of 28.83p a share taking the annual payout to 43.24p - up 1.5% in line with consumer price inflation including housing costs. Return on regulated equity was 4.3%.

The FTSE 100 group said the drop in revenue was mainly the result of lower customer bills in the first year of the AMP7 arrangement agreed with its regulator. Covid-19 changed the pattern of consumption but a £47m decline in non-household revenue was offset by a £47m rise in household income from more time at home and the hot weather in spring 2020.

Chief Executive Steve Mogford said: "This great start to AMP7 provides a strong platform for us to deliver further good operational performance, play our full part in the economic recovery within the communities we serve and to continue to protect our natural environment"."

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