May 24, 2018 / 6:58 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Britain's United Utilities FY profit rises 3.6 pct

(Adds details on profit beat, regulatory changes, capex)

May 24 (Reuters) - United Utilities Group Plc’s full-year profit beat analysts’ estimate on Thursday as the British water utility said it benefited from lower costs and regulatory changes to how utilities charge customers.

The utility, which supplies and treats water in north-western UK, said its underlying operating profit rose 3.6 percent to 645.1 million pounds ($862.05 million), compared with analysts’ estimate of 641.34 million pounds.

The company’s revenue rose 1.9 percent to 1.74 billion pounds in the year ending March 31, in line with the analysts’ estimate, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The profit rise was partly helped by the decision of Britain’s water regulator, OFWAT, to set prices each company can charge customers.

It introduced separate price controls for different services offered by the water industry from the one price control used earlier.

United Utilities said expenditure to maintain and improve its network fell to 147 million pounds from 150.8 million pounds reported in last year.

The regulatory capital investment, which includes the capital expenditure, stood at 816 million pounds, compared with 804 million pounds a year ago.

The company said its regulatory capital value, a measure of the value of its capital base, rose to 11.2 billion pounds from 10.7 billion pounds last year due to an increase in retail price inflation.

The company raised its total dividend to 39.73 pence per share from 38.87 pence a year earlier.

Smaller rival Severn Trent Plc posted a 4 percent rise in full-year profit on Wednesday, helped by higher incentives and increased cost efficiency.

$1 = 0.7483 pounds Reporting By Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Arun Koyyur

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