LONDON -- Shares in United Utilities (LSE: UU ) climbed 1% in early trade to reach 789 pence, as the company announced decent full-year figures for the year ended March 31, 2013.
Having seen its share price rise earlier in the week in anticipation of these results, Britain's biggest listed water company reported underlying operating profit increased by £13 million year on year, to £607 million, while revenue increased by £72 million to £1.64 billion.
The water management company is currently sitting on a five-year high and is on track to meet outperformance targets, which will benefit both customers and shareholders, according the firm.
It plans to reinvest around £200 million of capex outperformance for the "benefit of customers and the environment", while operational improvement saw United Utilities meet water and wastewater asset serviceability standards, outperform its regulatory leakage target and improve its quantitative SIM score with regulator Ofwat by 34%.
CEO Steve Mogford said:
Customer satisfaction with our service continues to improve, underpinned by strong operational and environmental performance.
We accelerated our capital investment program and invested £787 million in the year, taking the total investment in our network, since the start of the regulatory period in 2010, to just over £2 billion, providing an important contribution to the North West economy. We are delivering a smoother and more effective program and we expect to invest around a further £800 million in 2013/14.
Despite basic earnings per share falling from 45.7 pence in 2012 to 41.4 pence, the final dividend of 22.88 pence was maintained, giving a total dividend of 34.32 pence that represents a yield of 4.3%.
But if you're looking for an even better yield in a company that could prosper if the economy turns for the worse, as well as deliver a healthy gain if sentiment suddenly improved, then you need to read our brand-new special report! "The Motley Fool's Top Income Stock For 2013" features a company on a safe 5% yield, is completely free, and will be sent to your inbox immediately! Just click here now to find out more...