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(Reuters) - Britain's United Utilities Group Plc raised its dividend on Thursday after posting a better-than-expected annual operating profit helped by cost savings and new pricing regulations.
United Utilities, which supplies water across Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, said underlying operating profit rose 3.1 percent to 622.9 million pounds for the year.
Analysts had expected a profit of 609 million pounds according to a company compiled consensus.
Revenue for the year fell 1.5 percent to 1.7 billion pounds.
The largest of Britain's three publicly listed water suppliers by market value, United raised its total dividend to 38.87 pence per share for the year which ended on March 31 from 38.45 pence a year earlier.
Smaller rival Severn Trent Plc this week also raised its dividend after it posted a 4.3 percent rise in full-year profit.
United Utilities said on Thursday it will invest another 100 million pounds over the remainder of the 2015-20 period, taking its five-year regulatory capex programme to 3.6 billion pounds.
The company said it was engaged with water regulator Ofwat ahead of the next regulatory review period which will set prices for the five-year period to April 2025.
Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely