- Water supplier United Utilities said it expected to post a higher first-half underlying operating profit, as people working from home during the pandemic continued to use more water.

Revenue for the six months through September was expected to rise around 4%, reflecting higher consumption, only partially offset by a known regulatory revenue reduction.

'Household consumption remains high as many customers continue to work from home and consumption from businesses has started to return to pre-Covid levels as restrictions are lifted,' the company said.

United Utilities said the rise in underlying profit was due to the higher revenue, plus targeted efficiencies that were partly offset by rising underlying operating costs driven by inflationary pressures.

It added that it expected its underlying net finance expense to be about £25 million higher year-on-year, citing higher inflation applied to its index-linked debt.

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