United Utilities Group PLC (LON:UU.) has said its revenue and profit are expected to be lower than the first half of last year due to lower water consumption from businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The north-west England water company said it anticipates bad debt may increase as government support schemes come to an end, but as it secured early agreement during the pandemic to extend its ‘social tariff’ and has an “extensive range of financial assistance schemes”, the FTSE 100-listed group said it remains confident that it has prepared sufficiently well.
Current trading was said to be in line with the group's expectations for the six months ending September 30, 2020.
Although debt is expected to be higher at the period-end, due to investment in the water network, interest payments are expected to be around £30mln lower than the first half of last year rate due to a lower rate of inflation.
The pension surplus is “stable” and gearing remains within the target range of 55%-65% net debt to regulatory capital value.