United Utilities tops views

UNITED Utilities, Britain’s largest listed water utility, yesterday reported a lower-than-expected drop in annual profits, after it was ordered by regulators to cut prices as part of a sector review.

The company said revenue from regulated activities dropped four per cent, reflecting a similar four per cent decrease in prices. United Utilities said underlying pre-tax profit fell 32 per cent to £329.2m, due primarily to lower revenue following the price review, as well as higher infrastructure renewals expenditure and property rates.

However, this was still better than estimates of £311.8m, according to a poll.

Shares in United Utilities closed at 617p yesterday, valuing the business at nearly £4.2bn.