Regulatory price increases have allowed water and sewage group United Utilities to raise revenues, profits and investment in the first half of the year.
The FTSE 100 company said it anticipated underlying operating profits would be moderately higher than the first half of last year in the six months to the end of September due to tight control of costs.
As the company had flagged earlier, it continued to expect the increase in its revenues to be slightly below the allowed regulated price rise due to the effects of the recession limiting water volumes.
United Utilities said it expected to invest around £800m in capital investment upkeep and improvements over the whole year, up from £787m in the last financial year.
Well within the regulator's comfortable range of gearing, net debt at the halfway point is anticipated to be slightly higher than £5.45bn at its March 31st year end due to a combination of increased capital investment, plus previous years final dividend and payments in relation to interest and taxation, largely offset by operational cash flows and fair value gains on the group's debt and derivative instruments.
Following much consultation with customers, regulators and other stakeholders, the company said it was now "well advanced" in preparation of its business plan for the 2015-20 regulatory period and is on track for plan submission to Ofwat, as required by December 2nd this year.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum narrowed its first half losses as the oil and gas company kept a tight rein on costs.
Loss after tax came to $26.4m, compared to the previous year's loss of $31.4m, reflecting a fall in administrative expenses to $19.3m from $34.1m.
Loss per share fell to $0.03 from $0.04. Net cash outflow from oil and gas operations, after general and administrative expenses rose to $22.3m from $18.5m as the group invested in bring its Shaikan field to production.
In June the company received approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Kurdistan Regional Government for its Shaikan Field Development Plan (FDP).
A month later the first Shaikan production facility, capable of producing 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd), was fully commissioned in July.
Gross production from Shaikan PF-1 between July and September totalled 183,000 barrels, with 179,063 barrels sold into the domestic market.
"As a result of having the Shaikan FDP approved, and in line with the Kurdistan regional government's stated production targets for the Shaikan discovery, we are delighted to have entered the first phase of commercial production, which was eagerly awaited by the company's shareholders," said Chief Executive Officer, Todd Kozel.
"It is an important milestone and another highlight of the four years of hard work since striking oil in August 2009."
Construction of the second Shaikan production facility, capable of producing 20,000 barrels of oil per day, is ongoing with mechanical completion expected in October 2013, followed by production operations by the end of the year.
The group said the increase in production from Shaikan by the end of the year is expected to generate steady revenues.