United Utilities Group PLC
19 September 2013
UNITED UTILITIES TRADING UPDATE
Current trading is in line with the group's expectations for the six months
ending 30 September 2013. The company remains firmly on track to deliver its
2010-15 regulatory outperformance targets and has delivered further customer
service improvements through strong operational focus.
Revenue is expected to be higher than the first half of last year, reflecting
the regulated price increase for 2013/14. As indicated previously, this revenue
increase is expected to be slightly below the allowed regulated price rise,
principally reflecting the on-going impact of a tough economic climate on
volumes. Underlying operating profit for the first half of 2013/14 is
anticipated to be moderately higher than the first half of 2012/13, as the
company continues to tightly manage its cost base.
United Utilities has made good progress on its regulatory capital investment
programme and, as planned, expects to invest around £800 million in 2013/14,
including infrastructure renewals expenditure. This substantial investment
helps to maintain and improve services for customers, delivers further
environmental benefits and provides a significant contribution to the regional
The underlying net finance expense for the first half of 2013/14 is anticipated
to be similar to the first half of last year. Group net debt at 30 September
2013 is expected to be slightly higher than the position at 31 March 2013. This
principally reflects expenditure on the regulatory capital investment
programme, payment of the 2012/13 final dividend and payments in relation to
interest and taxation, largely offset by operational cash flows and fair value
gains on the group's debt and derivative instruments. Gearing remains stable
and comfortably within Ofwat's assumed range, supporting a solid A3 credit
rating for United Utilities Water.
The company is well advanced in preparation of its business plan for the
2015-20 period following extensive consultation with customers, regulators and
other stakeholders and is on track for plan submission to Ofwat, as required by
2 December this year.
United Utilities will announce its half year results on 27 November 2013.
United Utilities contacts:
Gaynor Kenyon, Corporate Affairs Director +44 (0) 7753 622282
Darren Jameson, Head of Investor Relations +44 (0) 7733 127707
Peter Hewer / Michelle Clarke, Tulchan +44 (0) 20 7353 4200
This announcement is also available at:
-0- Sep/19/2013 06:00 GMT
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