- Water utility Pennon booked a 22% rise in first-half profit after a focus on cost savings helped offset lower demand for water during a cooler summer.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through September rose to £163.1m, up from £133.6m on-year, including the adoption of new IFRS 16 accounting standards.

The rise came even as revenue fell 4.6% to £712.4m.

Adjusted profit edged up 0.8% to £142.9m.

Pennon declared an interim dividend of 13.66p per share, up 6.4% on-year.

The company said it experienced lower revenue and earnings at its South West Water business reflecting reduced customer demand compared with higher levels during last year's hot dry summer.

However, it offset the impact with lower operating costs achieved through a continued focus on cost savings.

Earnings at the Viridor waste management division, meanwhile, improved, driven by strong performance across all activities.

'Pennon has maintained its positive momentum through the first half, delivering robust performance across our water and waste businesses,' chief executive Chris Loughlin said.

'In September we announced a full review of Pennon's strategic focus, growth options and capital allocation policy,' he added.

'The review is ongoing and we will announce our conclusions in 2020.'

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