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United Utilities

Parent company: United Utilities Group Plc

Regulated utility: United Utilities Water Plc

Ownership: Public Limited Company

United Utilities had grown dramatically since privatisation - primarily by acquisition - to become a multi utility company listed on the London stock exchange. Now its gone almost full circle and has changed back to its roots, shrinking to being a regulated water asset owner and operator.

Wastewater issues are a major concern for the group. Huge progress has been made in improving wastewater discharges. However the North West is a heavily industrialized area and this will require considerable further work especially on combined sewer overflows. As a consequence it has the second biggest capital programme of any water company at 3.6 billion. The majority of this 2.18 bn is on wastewater with a much higher 'Quality' spend than the rest of the sector. That is, expenditure to comply with regulations or environmental standards. The regulated capital value is projected to grow by 12% in real terms by 2015 giving United Utilities the highest growth rate of the listed water companies.

United Utilities faces big challenges to close the gap with the other water companies and especially to improve its customer service. It is in the fourth quartile on an initial assessment of Ofwat's new service incentive mechanism but it is improving. Investment of 100m is underway at Davyhulme to create a new sludge processing center using advanced thermal hydrolysis opening in 2013. One of its major challenges is to move from being a reactive company, excellent at firefighting to one that innovates and uses technology to proactively manage its assets. It wants to learn from other sectors so that its systems can provide the services needed and it becomes resilient to the environmental challenges ahead.

Financial data is for regulated utility United Utilites Water plc

Data for financial year ended March 2013

Turnover 1636 m
Operating Profit 604 m
Capital Investment 787 m

Area served 14 445 km2
 -Waste water

6.8 million
7.1 million
-Water supplied a day
-Length water mains
-Water treatment works

2000 Ml
42 000km
-Length of sewers
-Waste water treatment works
-Sludge produced

43 000 km
230 000 te's dry


United Utilities plc
Haweswater House
Lingley Mere Business Park
Great Sankey

Tel: 01925 234000

Web site:

Non-regulated business

All of United Utilities non-regulated actives have now been sold.


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