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Severn Trent dividend exceeds £260m amid rising anger over sewage pollution

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Severn Trent has increased its dividend to more than £260m, despite growing public anger over payments made by water suppliers to their shareholders and executives, as companies come under increasing pressure to tackle leaks and sewage pollution of rivers and seas.The rise in the water company’s investor payout came as it reported a small increase in profit for the past year and forecast strong earnings growth for the coming year.One of Britain’s largest water companies, supplying customers in England and Wales, Severn Trent said it intended to raise its final dividend to 64.09p a share from 61.28p a year earlier.The increase will take the total amount paid out by Severn Trent to its shareholders over the past year to nearly £1.07 a share, up from £1.02 a year earlier.

The total payout amounts to £261m, up from £255m in 2022.The move follows the company’s policy of raising dividends annually by at least the rate of inflation.The UK’s water companies will pay an estimated £14.7bn in dividends by the end of this decade, according to analysis for the Guardian, at the same time as making customers pay for new investment to stop the flow of sewage pollution into the country’s waterways.Severn Trent, which has more than 8 million customers, supplies water across a region stretching from the Bristol Channel to the Humber and from mid-Wales to Rutland in the east Midlands.The FTSE 100 company, which has its headquarters in Coventry, reported a 0.5% increase in pre-tax profit to just under £509m for the year to 31 March, as a result of robust consumption by households and businesses.Severn Trent is anticipating strong earnings growth this year thanks to a reduction of up to a fifth in the amount of interest it has to pay, which

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