United Utilities supporting customers with no increase in average household bills

Water

United Utilities Group PLC (LON:UU) has announced its full year results for the year ended 31 March 2022.

Delivering for the North West – Supporting customers, colleagues, communities and environment

·    No increase in average household bills for 2022/23, despite rapidly rising inflation

·    Extensive affordability schemes providing £280m of support to over 200,000 households over AMP7  

·    Leading supporter of the Consumer Council for Water’s drive to launch a national social tariff

·    Improving river health over the next 3 years through our “Better Rivers: Better North West” plan

·    Continuous apprentice recruitment, including 30 Green Apprentices to support our climate change plans

·    On track to deliver our bold commitments to reduce carbon

·    Leading utility in The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List 2021/22

£400m additional investment – Responsibly sharing outperformance for the benefit of all stakeholders

·    Increased outperformance facilitates further responsible investment; contributing to 21.4%1 RCV growth

·    Investment beyond the AMP7 final determination increased by a further £400m, now totalling £765m2

·    The investment will help to address new and emerging environmental standards and drive customer ODIs

·    Financial strength and balance sheet headroom to fund additional investment

·    Accelerated AMP7 base capital programme delivering operational improvements with 90% on contract

Digital transformation – Systems Thinking driving value through sustainable performance

·    Largest annual customer ODI reward of £25m for 2021/22; ahead of guidance

·    Increasing our AMP7 customer ODI guidance by over 30% to c£200m in total

·    A sector leading company on outcome delivery as assessed in Ofwat’s Service Delivery Report for 2020/21

·    Innovative Dynamic Network Management delivering reductions in sewer flooding and pollution events

·    Overall pollution incidents reduced by over a third since the beginning of AMP7

Financial resilience – Strong financial performance and robust balance sheet

·    Reported and underlying3 operating profit of £610m up 1.3%

·    Household bad debt improving to 1.8%; strong customer debtor position

·    Strong balance sheet; stable RCV gearing at 61%; A3 credit rating with Moody’s

·    Fully funded, inflation hedged pension scheme; Mar-21 valuation complete, further de-risking progressing

·    Power commodity prices over 90% hedged for 2022/23 and 67% hedged for 2023/24 and 2024/25

·    Optimising government tax initiatives from investment; underlying tax credit for 2021/22 of £65m;

·    7.9% reported return on regulated equity (RoRE) for 2021/22; underlying RoRE of 7.7%

·    High inflation increases RCV although reduces earnings in the near term

·    Balance sheet to remain strong and cash metrics not impacted by indexation of index-linked debt

·    Total dividend of 43.50p, in line with AMP7 dividend policy

Key financials

Year ended
31 March 2022
Year ended
31 March 2021
Revenue£1,862.7m£1,808.0m
Reported and underlying operating profit£610.0m£602.1m
Reported earnings per share3 (pence)(8.3)p66.5p
Underlying earnings per share3,4 (pence)53.8p56.2p
Total dividend per ordinary share (pence)43.50p43.24p
Net regulatory capital spend£644.5m£616.5m
RCV gearing561%62%

1 RCV growth over AMP7 in nominal prices

2 £365m of additional investment already announced

3 Reported earnings per share includes a one-off deferred tax charge of £403m in relation to the increase in the headline rate to 25% from Apr-23

4 Underlying measures are defined in the tables

5 Regulatory capital value (RCV) gearing calculated as group net debt/United Utilities Water Limited’s shadow (adjusted for actual spend and timing difference) RCV

Steve Mogford, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We are very conscious of our responsibility to support customers at a time when households are seeing significant rises in the cost of living. Despite the high levels of inflation, we expect no increase in average household water bills in our region in the coming financial year and we are offering more financial support to customers in need than ever before. We are a leading supporter of the Consumer Council for Water’s drive for a national social tariff and believe the right support should be provided to customers who struggle to pay their bill regardless of where they live in the country.

“We take our role in the North West very seriously, and firmly believe that responsibly sharing our successes is the right thing to do for all our stakeholders. Our improving performance together with an environment of higher inflation is yielding a greater level of outperformance, and so we will be investing an additional £400 million to improve the service we provide to customers and to accelerate the delivery of environmental outcomes. We recently published our river revival plan which progressively reduces the impact our operations have on river health. Our four-point strategy details how we will work with others to transform the rivers and waterways across our region.

“The maturing of our Systems Thinking approach – which uses innovative technology to deliver a better service for customers – continues to create value through sustainable performance improvements. This has contributed to another strong outcome delivery incentive (ODI) reward for the year and underpins our confidence in increasing our total AMP7 ODI target by a third, to £200 million. Financial performance has again been good, demonstrating resilience in a challenging environment and, together with the sustainable improvements in our performance, is delivering value for our stakeholders today as well as creating further value to be received in AMP8 and beyond.”

Presentation webcast and conference call details

We will be hosting a live virtual presentation at 9.00am on Thursday 26 May 2022, which can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.unitedutilitiestv.live/

The presentation slides will be available on our website shortly before the presentation commences at the following link:

https://www.unitedutilities.com/corporate/investors/results-and-presentations/full-and-half-year-results/

Following conclusion of the presentation a recording of the presentation will be available from our website.

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