Anglian Water gets profit increase boost
OPERATING profits at AWG plc, one of Hunts largest employers, rose by nearly one third during 2005/06, according to preliminary results for the year. Turnover at the company, which is the parent of Anglian Water – providing water, sewerage services or bo
OPERATING profits at AWG plc, one of Hunts' largest employers, rose by nearly one third during 2005/06, according to preliminary results for the year.
Turnover at the company, which is the parent of Anglian Water - providing water, sewerage services or both to every household in Huntingdonshire - developers AWG Property and support service company Morrison, topped £1.5billion, nearly £200million higher than the previous year.
Operating profit was reported at £378million (£289million in 2004/05) and pre-tax profit almost trebled to nearly £109million. But the FTSE250 group warned that this was partly a reflection of changes to the accounting convention for reporting the results of quoted companies.
Huntingdon-based Anglian Water increased turnover by £69million, largely due to a 19 per cent price increase allowed over five years by the industry regulator Ofwat and to increased seasonal demand in the dry early summer of last year - now a distant memory.
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Group chief executive Johnson Cox said: "These are good results, which demonstrate effective management in all parts of the group.
"In Anglian Water we delivered a strong financial and operating performance following a drive on efficiency.
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"In what are challenging times for water companies - and remember that the Anglian Water region received less rainfall than any other part of the country - efficient control of leakage and a high proportion of metered customers has enabled us to keep overall water resources close to normal levels."
Nearly two-thirds of AW customers have water meters, and the company says it consistently meets its leakage targets. Only two-thirds of average rain had fallen last winter but, in spite of having less rainfall than any region in the UK, no restrictions were expected in 2006, it added.
AW said bills would rise on average by 2.4 per cent a year up to 2010, the lowest increase of all water companies.
Catherine Harvey, chairman of the Consumer Council for Water Eastern, said: "In this first year of a five-year business period, the company has hit the targets set for the year in reducing sewer flooding and leakage, and in upgrading its water and sewage treatment works. Also, we're pleased to see that Anglian don't anticipate any water restrictions in 2006.
"Profits do have the benefit of helping Anglian Water deliver improvements consumers are looking for. However, customers have seen increases in their water and sewerage bills over the recent years, including 7.25 per cent last year (2005-06). Since all company revenue is from customers, they are asking questions about whether bills have been allowed to rise too high."
She added: "Anglian Water customers want to see improved services, particularly around resolving complaints swiftly, quicker provision of water connections and responding effectively to the recent increase in customer demand for water meters."
She urged AW to give serious consideration to not taking up the full amount of the price increases allowed by Ofwat from next April or to invest in further service improvements.
INFORMATION: AWG's preliminary results can be seen at www.awg.com