Capital expenditure leads to United Utilities profit slip

Underlying pre-tax profit falls 5% for the half year to September 30, 2011, capital expenditure reached £275m and complaints drop 20%

United Utilities has blamed its level of capital expenditure for the dip in pre-tax profits, which at £184.9m were £10.5m lower than the same period last year. This is despite a revenue increase of almost 4% to £792.7m driven by a 4.5% price rise.

Regulatory capital investment for the period was £275m, including £66m of infrastructure renewals expenditure, and is on track to reach up to £700m by the end of the financial year.

United Utilities ceo Steve Mogford described today's figures as, "a good set of results in a tough economic climate."

Operationally, the news was good as United Utilities announced a 20% reduction in the number of complaints in the period. Mr Mogford explained: "Our stronger focus on operational performance is delivering further service improvements for customers and we have reduced customer complaints by 20% in the first half of this year."

The company also managed a 42% improvement on Ofwat's service incentive mechanism (SIM) and though it is still in the fourth quartile it does "represent good progress," says the company, and "improving customer service further remains a significant area of continued management focus."

Will Parsons



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