- British water utility Pennon Group reported a "robust" performance in its 2018/19 financial year, with underlying earnings increases supported by Ebitda growth at its Viridor waste recycling business, higher revenues and Ebitda at its South West Water unit and £17m in group efficiencies.

Underlying Group pre-tax profit for 2018/19 rose 8.3% to £280.2m while revenue grew 6.1% to £1,478.2m.

Its Viridor recycling and waste management arm company Ebitda grow 19.1%, supported by the build-out of its its energy recovery facilities.

The higher revenues and Ebitda at Pennon's South West Water business, meanwhile, reflected increased customer demand over the summer.

"The 'Blue Planet' effect continues to encourage action and we were pleased to see the government's Resources & Waste Strategy aligned to Viridor's strategy, with plastics on a fast track. Whilst the recycling market has been challenging, with changing public perception and government support for recycling and the UK Plastics Pact outlining a roadmap with targets to 2025, we are confident in the long-term market outlook," the company said.

The company said the next part of Viridor's growth phase would be boosted by "significant investment" in a new-state-of-the art plastics processing facility. It would be powered by low-carbon energy from Pennon's Energy Recovery Facility in Avonmouth.

For 2018/19, the Board recommended a final dividend of 28.22p. Together with the interim dividend of 12.84p, this would result in a total dividend of 41.06p, an increase of 6.4% from last year.

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