P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:13:10       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS Over the next five years, the average household water bill will rise from £249 to £295, or 18%, plus increases to cover inflation. The figures - announced by water regulator Ofwat this month - may worry many poorer households. Water companies argue they must invest heavily in infrastructure. But their shares have risen and in some cases are at their highest in several years. ——————————————————————————————————1/8—— by Brian Gorman Great value UK Breaks - See p240 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:10:15       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS While the 18%+ inflation rise in water bills is over five years, customers will notice it is "front-loaded". Bills will rise an average of 8.6% in April 2005 to reflect a sharp uplift in company costs at that time. But the rate of increase will slow down in future years. Robert Miller-Bakewell of Merrill Lynch investment bank says a change in tax treatment is partly to blame for the sudden jump next year. ——————————————————————————————————2/8—— Be briefed on the City week ahead 505 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:14:01       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS Shares in most water companies rose the day Ofwat unveiled its price ruling. Merrill Lynch analysts say they are a safe haven with no exposure to dollar weakness, but may not rise much more. Anglian Water owner AWG jumped 7% on the day and has gained 60% in 2004. Other movers on the day and gains over 12 months: Severn Trent (4.3%, 27%), Pennon (3.9%, 40%), Northumbrian Water (2.7%, 40%). ——————————————————————————————————3/8—— Take stock of a week in the ity 511 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:11:08       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS Water companies are popular for their yield (dividend divided by share price). Stockbroker Charles Stanley has a "buy for income" recommendation on United Utilities (yield over 7%). But some firms "over distribute", say Merrill Lynch analysts. UU asked shareholders for £1bn last year in a rights issue, suggesting it can pay a dividend only if investors give it the cash in the first place. ——————————————————————————————————4/8—— The economy at a glance 548 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:15:05       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS Most water companies have diversified or merged to reduce exposure to one commodity, and one regulator. United Utilities was formed in 1995 from the merger of North West Water and electricity company Norweb. It has also gone into telecoms. AWG (formerly Anglian Water) took over construction group Morrison in 2000. This moves proved a disaster, say analysts. ——————————————————————————————————5/8—— Top share movers on the week 513 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:18:21       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS The privatisation of water companies in 1989 created hundreds of thousands of private shareholders, but their numbers have diminished. Most sold out early on and took profits. Severn Trent started out with 300,000 but this has dropped to 91,000. Between them, they own just 8.5% of the company. AWG started off with 266,000 private shareholders, but now has just 50,000. ——————————————————————————————————6/8—— Football: the Teletext share league 509 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:12:28       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS There are wide regional variations in the rate at which water companies will be allowed to hike charges: Wessex, South West and Southern Water customers will see their bills rise 25% (plus inflation) over the next five years Bills for Dee Valley and Tendring Hundred customers will fall 1% and 2% respectively (neither company includes sewerage in its charges). ——————————————————————————————————7/8—— Full personal finance index 530 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle
P508 Teletext 508 Dec11 23:16:14       —————————  ————————————————  WATER COMPANIES TAP INTO SHARE GAINS UK water companies continue to attract takeovers, especially from overseas buyers. Thames Water was taken over by RWE of Germany in 2000. YTL of Malaysia acquired Wessex Water in 2002 South Staffordshire was acquired by the Bahrain-based First Islamic Bank in October. ——————————————————————————————————8/8—— The economy at a glance 548 BE TOTALLY ENTERTAINED p300 Football Shares FTSE data Bamboozle