‘No flood damage’ for utilities duo Pennon and Severn Trent

 

Lucy Tobin
Saturday 15 February 2014 01:53
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Two of Britain’s biggest water companies shrugged off the catastrophic flooding yesterday, saying the country’s 6,000 flooded homes and businesses would have no impact on their bottom line.

Pennon, the owner of South West Water, whose customers are in underwater Cornwall and Devon, claimed that it had brushed off the “exceptional weather and resultant flooding in the South-west”.

It said it had offered customers “effective operational performance and high standards of customer service, underpinned by strong financial performance” from October to date.

Local reports, however, include a lightning strike damaging a water main in Newquay during the flooding, which left more than 50 South West Water homes without running water.

Its rival Severn Trent, the UK’s second-largest water supplier, said it currently anticipates “no material financial impact” from the floods. Its management refused to talk about how its services were coping.

Severn, whose new chief executive, BT’s Liv Garfield, replaces the incumbent Tony Wray this spring, said operating costs are expected to rise year on year because of the impact of inflation and the rising price of energy.

The FTSE 100 company also “continues to monitor developments such as unemployment levels and changes to the UK benefits system closely” to see if bill-paying problems could rise. However, it still told investors that dividends are set to rise 6 per cent to 80.4p this year.

Shares in Severn Trent rose 1.2 per cent, or 22p, to 1,772p while Pennon ended up 1.7 per cent, or 11.5p, at 699p.

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