UNITED UTILITIES GROUP PLC: Trading Statement
United Utilities Group PLC
21 March 2013
UNITED UTILITIES TRADING UPDATE
Current trading is in line with the group's expectations for the year ending 31 March 2013. The company remains on track to deliver its 2010-15 regulatory outperformance targets and continues to drive improvements in customer service and operational effectiveness.
As indicated previously, revenue is expected to increase at a rate slightly below the allowed regulated price rise for 2012/13, principally reflecting the continuing impact of a tough economic climate on commercial volumes. Underlying operating profit for 2012/13 is anticipated to be slightly higher than 2011/12, despite expected rises in depreciation, power and other costs, as the company continues to tightly manage its cost base.
United Utilities has made further progress on its regulatory capital investment programme and now expects to invest at least £750 million in 2012/13, compared with £680 million invested in the prior year, as the company continues to invest to maintain and improve services for customers, deliver further environmental benefits and provide a significant contribution to the regional economy.
The underlying net finance expense for 2012/13 is expected to be moderately lower than last year, mainly reflecting the impact of lower RPI inflation in respect of the group's index-linked debt.
The total effective tax rate for 2012/13 is expected to be broadly in line with the mainstream rate of corporation tax of 24%. This excludes the adjustment relating to deferred tax in the first half of the year, as a result of the UK Government's staged reduction in the rate of corporation tax.
Group net debt at 31 March 2013 is expected to be slightly higher than the position at 30 September 2012. This principally reflects expenditure on the regulatory capital investment programme, payment of the 2012/13 interim dividend and payments in relation to interest and tax, largely offset by operational cash flows. Gearing remains stable, reflecting growth in the regulatory capital value, supporting a solid A3 credit rating for United Utilities Water PLC.
United Utilities will announce its full year results on 23 May 2013.
United Utilities contacts:
Gaynor Kenyon, Corporate Affairs Director +44 (0) 7753 622282
Darren Jameson, Head of Investor Relations +44 (0) 1925 237033
Peter Hewer / Michelle Clarke, Tulchan +44 (0) 20 7353 4200 Communications
This announcement is also available at: http://corporate.unitedutilities.com/ investors.aspx
-0- Mar/21/2013 07:00 GMT