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ScottishPower profits down because of regulatory curbs

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GLASGOW, Scotland — ScottishPower Plc, the parent company of Utah Power, said first-quarter profits halved after regulatory price controls in the United Kingdom affected its water and electricity businesses.

Net income in the three months ended June 30 was $29.7 million or 1.6 cents per share. That compares with $59.5 million, or 4.9 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The company's pre-tax profit for the quarter was $206 million, while revenue increased 79 percent to $1.95 billion. A charge for restructuring PacifiCorp after its acquisition came to $181 million.

ScottishPower said the financial performance was in line with its expectations.

Shareholders will receive a dividend of 9.75 cents for the period, an increase of 5 percent from a year ago, in line with the company's dividend target of 5 percent growth per year.

ScottishPower in November bought PacifiCorp, based in Portland, Ore., and the holding company for Utah Power, for $10.7 billion.

ScottishPower said its PacifiCorp integration "has exceeded expectations." The company in May announced a transition plan designed to reduce operating costs by $300 million, to reduce capital expenditure by $250 million and to cut the manpower by 1,600 over a five-year period.

The company said that another 740 workers have applied to leave under early retirement arrangements.

"Progress on the integration with our U.S. business PacifiCorp has exceeded expectations, and we are pleased that this has been achieved while delivering improvements in customer service," ScottishPower Chairman Charles Miller Smith said.