THE parent group of Yorkshire Water has unveiled a 5.8% rise in profits - as it pushes for an inflation-busting rise in water bills.
Kelda made pre-tax profits of £99.7m for the six months to September 30 on sales 5.2% up at £358.8m.
The group is in talks with industry watchdog Ofwat over its pricing review for the 2005-2010 period.
Kelda wants to raise bills to its 4.7m customers by at least 3.6% a year from April 2005, to fund £1.3bn of investment projects.
Yorkshire Water said the increase was also needed to meet the cost of complying with new European Union environmental rules and a "significant" rise in taxes the company pays to the Government.
The increase would add an extra 15p a week to domestic customers' bills.
Kelda unveiled the results just days after starting work on a massive contract to provide water supply and treatment services to Ministry of Defence sites across the UK.
The contract - covering 1,100 army, air force and naval bases - is worth £1bn over 25 years to a consortium of businesses, including Kelda.
The annual results showed Yorkshire Water increased operating profits by 6.6% to £127.5m. Turnover was up 5.3% to £300.7m.
The company said it did not foresee supply problems in 2004 - despite the impact of the dry summer on reservoir stocks.
Kelda said sales at its US water business, Aquarion, rose by 1.8% to £51.1m.