Severn Trent cuts dividend after decline in full-year earnings, but turns the tap on with good customer satisfaction

 
Francesca Washtell
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Severn Trent turned the tap on at full blast with high profit before tax and customer satisfaction today (Source: Getty)

Water utility firm Severn Trent reported strong profit before growth and high customer satisfaction levels as it released its full-year results this morning.

The figures

Severn Trent's turnover dipped 0.8 per cent on the previous year due to a regulated price decrease, reaching £1.79bn in the year to 31 March. The group's underlying profit before tax was up 4.4 per cent, at £314m.

Severn Trent reckons it provided its customers with the lowest combined average bills in Britain, at £329 in 2016/2017, a flat rate from the year before.

Read more: Severn Trent says it's still on target for its full year results

Customer satisfaction also inched up, with complaints down 28 per cent year on year, while the group said it has made "strong progress" in areas such as internal sewer flooding, which was down 31 per cent.

Its dividend was cut by five per cent to 80.66p per share, in line with its policy, down from 84.9p per share in 2015.

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Why it's interesting

At the beginning of May, Severn Trent and United Utilities won approval for a 50:50 joint venture that will compete to supply water to businesses. The competition regulator approved plans to combine the companies' non-domestic supply arms into the new offering, which Severn Trent will back with a cash injection of £3.5m.

Last June, it was reported that Canada's Borealis Infrastructure was 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.

What Severn Trent said

Chief executive Liv Garfield said:

Putting our customers at the heart of our business has led to a promising start to the current regulatory period.

We continue to drive down costs and have the lowest combined water bills in Britain, with our customers paying on average less than a pound a day for their water and waste water services. Further efficiencies are also allowing us to invest even more for the long-term benefit of our customers and shareholders.

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