Pennon Group declares special dividend despite following ‘pivotal year’

Utility company Pennon Group said on Thursday that both total revenues and underlying pre-tax profits had slipped in the “pivotal year” ended 31 March.
While underlying revenues were up 1.2% at £644.6m, statutory revenues dropped £12.6m year-on-year to £624.1m as a result of a £20.5m reduction stemming from the group offering its Watershare+ credit to customer bills.

Underlying earnings were down 8.4% at £334.7m, while operating profits were 12.3% lower at £215.3m and pre-tax profits slumped 14.2% to £157.0m. Adjusted earnings per share contracted 9.4% to 21.9p.

However, Pennon announced a dividend payment of 21.74p per share, less than half the figure paid out in the prior trading year, but did declare a special dividend of 355.0p per share.

Chief executive Susan Davy said: “This has been a pivotal year for the group as we have repositioned Pennon to focus on driving sustainable growth in the UK water sector, building stability for the longer term, and recognising ongoing shareholder loyalty.

“Our sector-leading dividend policy, together with the planned special dividend, recognises the ongoing loyalty of our shareholders, underpinned by the group’s confidence in our ongoing growth strategy, and building a sustainable future for all.”

Elsewhere, Pennon revealed it had acquired Bristol Water for a £425.0m cash consideration, stating the move had provided it with a “high quality” business and approximately 1.2m new customers.

As of 0835 BST, Pennon shares were up 3.97% at 1,110.89p.

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