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NEWS: OTPP water profits up in the UK, as is the water poverty rate

Bloomberg reports, “Northumbrian Water Group Plc (NWG), which supplies about 4.4 million customers in the United Kingdom, posted a 6.3 per cent increase in pretax profit following a price review by regulator Ofwat. Profit before tax climbed to 181 million pounds ($297 million) from 170.2 million pounds ($272.12 million) a year earlier, the Durham- based company said in a statement today. …Prices charged by Northumbrian’s water unit increased in line with the Ofwat review allowance of 5 per cent plus the November 2009 retail price index of 0.3 percent, the company said. …Northumbrian will pay a full-year dividend of 14.29 pence (23 cents) a share.”

“Northumbrian shares have risen 21 per cent since the end of January on speculation that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which owns a 27 per cent stake in the water utility, may increase its holding, Investec analyst Angelos Anastasiou said in a note to investors.”

In April 2010, the Times UK reported that, “(British government) ministers are considering setting up a £500m ($800 million) fund to support the growing number of households that are suffering from ‘water poverty’. The condition — defined as when water bills make up more than 3 per cent of household spending — has been largely ignored until recently. The number of people unable or unwilling to pay has soared to record levels during the recession… Last year the value of bills more than a year in arrears jumped 16 per cent to £804m ($1.3 billion). The value of bills more than three months late rose to £1.4 billion ($2.24 billion). Since the industry was privatised in 1989, bills have increased by 42 per cent after inflation.”

Additionally, the Canada Pension Plan owns one-third of Anglian Water Services, which sells water services to approximately six million people in the UK. In 2009, Anglian Water posted £317.3 million ($507.3 million) in profit for the financial year.

The Bloomberg report is at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-01/northumbrian-water-pretax-profit-climbs-after-price-review-1-.html.