May 31, 2010 3:00 am

Ofwat restrictions muddy waters

Water sector results season concludes with earnings from Northumbrian Water on Wednesday - but as with its peers, the figures themselves will be only part of the story, writes Alistair Gray .

Since the end of the last financial year, restrictions from Ofwat have taken effect and the big question is how the industry will cope.

Although Northumbrian fared better in the review than many peers, the next five years are likely to be challenging.

The results will also be the first to be revealed by Heidi Mottram, new chief executive, but investors should not expect to hear about an overhaul of the company's strategy.

Analysts expect pre-tax profits at Northumbrian, which serves the north-east and also operates Essex & Suffolk Water, to rise from £152.7m to £165m on sales of £700m (£694m).

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