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United Utilities profit rises as water consumption by businesses recover

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A United Utilities engineer arrives at the scene of a burst water main in Liverpool northern England.
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(Reuters) -Water company United Utilities posted a 4% rise in first-half operating profit, as consumption by businesses recovered from the pandemic, and said it was set to receive 150 million pounds ($200.70 million) in regulatory incentives for 2020-2025.

Last week, Britain's environment agency and water regulator Ofwat launched a major investigation into sewage treatment, and said the companies that have breached legal permits on sewage dumping would face a fine.

Noting the investigation, United Utilities said on Wednesday it had "no serious pollution incidents" last year.

"Our pollution performance continues to be industry leading, and in 2020, we had no serious pollution incidents for the second year running in line with the Environment Agency's stated expectation for the sector."

On Tuesday, its peer Severn Trent brought forward its time target of implementing actions to improve river quality by 16 years.

United Utilities' underlying operating profit rose to 332.8 million pounds for the six months ended Sept. 30 from 318.5 million pounds a year earlier, driven by higher consumption as business activity returns to pre-pandemic levels, it said.

($1 = 0.7474 pounds)

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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