Severn Trent says price rises offset wet summer

LONDON Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:51am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - British water company Severn Trent (SVT.L) said it was on track to deliver its full-year earnings on Tuesday after posting an increase in first half-revenue helped by rising prices which countered lower usage during a wet summer.

A price rise of 5.2 percent also helped to offset increased investment in the company's networks.

The British utility reported results in line with forecasts, with pre-tax profit up 1.6 percent to 157.5 million pounds, from revenue up 3.6 percent.

"We have delivered again on our commitments to our stakeholders," Chief Executive Tony Wray said.

"We are on track with our 150 million pounds additional investment programme announced in May, delivering operational improvements in the areas we targeted for this year, improving our service to customers and producing sustainable, progressive returns for shareholders."

Severn Trent was the most sanguine among Britain's major water companies in its response last week to draft changes to operating licences released by regulator Ofwat.

The company said last week it was "minded to accept" the alterations but has asked for further clarity and suggested scaling back the percentage of revenues that would be removed from wholesale price controls under the proposals.

"We're broadly supportive of the direction of change," Wray told reporters after the results were announced. "We see opportunity coming from those changes."

(Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Kate Holton)

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