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Pennon Group plc is a British utility company that provides essential water and wastewater services to communities across the Southwest of England and South Wales. As an investment, Pennon shares offer investors exposure to a robust, regulated utility business with stable cash flows and dividends. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Pennon Group, examine the factors impacting its share price, and discuss whether Pennon shares are a good investment today.


What Does Pennon Group Do?

Pennon Group was founded in 1989 following the privatization of the UK water industry. Today, it serves approximately 1.7 million water and wastewater customers through two principal subsidiaries:

  • South West Water - Provides regulated water and wastewater services in Cornwall, Devon, parts of Dorset and Somerset, and across areas of Hampshire.
  • Viridor - An environmental company offering recycling, renewable energy, and waste management services.

The company is led by Chief Executive Officer Susan Davy, who accepted her role in 2020 after serving as Pennon’s Chief Financial Officer. Pennon Group is headquartered in Exeter and employs around 5,000 people.

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How Much is the Pennon Share Price? 


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Pennon Group’s share price has shown significant volatility and an overall downward trend during 2022 and 2023, based on the data provided by MarketWatch. In December 2022, the Pennon share price traded between 967p and 888.5p before rallying in early 2023 to a high of 975.5p in January.

However, from February through September 2023, the Pennon share price declined sharply, falling over 45% from the 952.5p February high to a low of 586p in September. This steep share price depreciation indicates investors became much more bearish on the stock and reflects eroding confidence in Pennon’s business outlook and growth prospects during this period.

Several factors likely contributed to this deteriorating investor sentiment and share price weakness. Rising inflation and increasing interest rates have put significant pressure on UK consumer discretionary income and raised Pennon’s financing costs. Meanwhile, the weakening British economy may constrain the company’s revenue growth and cash flows.

Ongoing regulatory challenges and the potential for more restrictive price determinations during the following 2025-2030 review have also introduced uncertainty over Pennon’s future profitability. These macroeconomic and regulatory headwinds have made investors more cautious about the stock, lowering the Pennon share price.

The sharp selloff seems overdone, though, with the Pennon share price recovering around 25% from the September lows to above 700p by November 2023. This rebound suggests the market may have become too pessimistic and undervalued Pennon’s stable underlying utility earnings. The shares have found support and stabilized around 700-750p heading into year-end.

This article may pique your interest: 9 amazing facts about stocks that you didn’t know before


Why Share Price Fall and Rise?

As a utility company, Pennon offers stable, predictable earnings underpinned by strong market fundamentals. However, the Pennon share price remains exposed to internal and external variables. Some factors that can influence Pennon’s valuation and share price performance include:

Regulated Price Controls


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The industry regulator Ofwat sets the water rates that Pennon can charge every five years based on inflation, capital expenditures, operating costs, and allowed return on capital. More generous allowances from Ofwat enable Pennon to invest in infrastructure, expand services, and increase water rates. This supports higher revenue growth and earnings. 

More spending on infrastructure is also viewed positively by investors. In contrast, conservative price reviews from Ofwat would pressure Pennon share prices as rate increases may not match inflation and investment needs. The outlook for the 2024 price review will be a significant driver of the Pennon share price in the coming years.

Operational Efficiency 

Pennon must tightly control operating costs across its water and wastewater networks while maintaining high service levels. Savings from productivity gains, process improvements, and technology adoption can increase profit margins. Higher operating gearing also boosts returns on capital as revenues rise faster than costs. However, if costs grow faster than allowed rates, it squeezes profitability and hurts the share price.

Investment Plans 

Pennon invests annually to upgrade water networks and meet environmental regulations. Major infrastructure projects like new reservoirs require billions in incremental capital. The allowed return on capital guides infrastructure investment decisions. Prudent investments that earn or exceed the cost of capital add shareholder value. In contrast, lower returns may cause Pennon to scale back investment plans, negatively impacting the share price.

Financing Costs

Pennon utilizes debt to fund capital expenditures, given the stable earnings of a utility business. A rise in borrowing costs reduces profitability and cash flows available for shareholders. Conversely, refinancing at lower interest rates boosts earnings and improves valuations. Credit rating changes also influence debt financing costs.

Economic Conditions

Weak UK economic growth reduces water usage from industrial and commercial customers. Higher inflation pushes up Pennon’s operating costs without a matching rate increase. Changes in Bank of England rates also influence Pennon’s financing expenses on floating rate debt. 

Construction cost inflation makes infrastructure projects more expensive. These macroeconomic factors impact Pennon’s profitability and make shares less attractive during downturns.

Dividend Policy

Pennon aims to deliver annual dividend growth. Higher payouts and dividend growth attract income investors and support the share price. A change in dividend policy or unexpected dividend cut would depress the share price.


Will Pennon Shares Go Up?

The Pennon share price has seen significant volatility in recent years due to various internal and external factors. Heading into 2024, the outlook remains uncertain as the company faces headwinds from rising costs and tighter regulatory price controls.

For investors, thoroughly analyzing the potential impacts of inflation, interest rates, regulatory changes, and macroeconomic conditions on Pennon’s profitability and valuation will be vital in making informed decisions. While Pennon shares offer an attractive dividend yield, traders should carefully weigh the risks and potential rewards before buying the stock. 

There are valid concerns over the headwinds facing Pennon, but the recent share price fluctuations may also present a buying opportunity if the challenges are appropriately accounted for. 

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant degree of risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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