Severn Trent share price rises as first half profit inches up as customer complaints fall

Jessica Morris
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Severn Trent used social media to solve customer complaints (Source: Getty)

The figures

Utility firm Severn Trent's group turnover was broadly flat at £896.1m in the six months to September 30, from a restated £898.3m during the same period a year earlier.

The FTSE 100-listed company's underlying profit before interest and tax - another measure of profitability - increased by 2.6 per cent to £281m, up from £273.8m a year earlier.

Overall customer complaints fell by 35 per cent, and there was a significant increase in the number of customers helped through social tariffs.

It will pay an interim dividend of 32.26p per share, slightly down from the 33.96p it paid a year earlier.

Shares in Severn Trent popped 2.25 per cent to 2,230p per share at the open.

Why it's interesting

In June it was reported that Canada's Borealis Infrastructure is in the early stages of launching a takeover bid for British utility firm Severn Trent.

It previously bid for the water company in May 2013, as part of the LongRiver Partners consortium which also included the Kuwait Investment Office and UK pension fund the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

This came against a backdrop of increased regulatory pressure on Severn Trent to lower its prices.

The company said that 32 per cent of its regulated water and waste energy needs are now generated through the renewable energy programme, and on target for 50 per cent by 2020.

What Severn Trent said

"I am pleased to report strong progress in the first half of the year, marking a good start to the new regulatory period," Liv Garfield, chief executive Severn Trent , said.

"As we continue to become an even more customer focused business we have delivered some great improvements, evidenced by the decline in customer complaints, and we continue to have the lowest combined bills in Britain."

In short

Severn Trent said its more "streamlined structure" helped it post a rise in profits during the first half of this year.

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