Jump in sales boosts United Utilities stock

UNITED Utilities saw its share price climb yesterday after it indicated that both sales and profit were on track for the full-year.

The FTSE-100 water company said full-year sales would increase by between three and four per cent, in line with analyst forecasts.

“This increase is slightly below the allowed regulated price rise, principally reflecting the ongoing impact of customers switching to meters and lower commercial volumes in the second half of the year,” it said.

The company said it expects net debt at the end of the financial year to be slightly higher than its position on 30 September. It said this was due to expenditure on the regulatory capital investment programme and payment of the interim dividend. It said it had made an early repayment of a £150m loan from the European Investment Bank, which was due for redemption in June.

Analysts expect the company to report 2012 revenue of £1.58bn, up four per cent from 2011 levels.

United Utilities also said total regulatory capital expenditure for the year would be about £700m.

“The company is encouraged by its recent progress and will continue with its strong operational and customer focus, with the aim of delivering further service improvements for customers combined with greater efficiency,” it added.

United Utilities’ shares closed 1.3 per cent higher at 618p.