UK-based utility Scottish Power has moved to restructure the debt of its water business by releasing US$2.4B capital to finance expansion. The move came as trading losses in the volatile US power market decimated its first half earnings.

Pretax profit in the six months to September fell to $87.12M from US$384M a year ago, in line with analysts’ expectations.

The main element of Scottish Power’s profits downturn was a US$300M charge at its US arm, PacifiCorp, the result of forward electricity contracts bought at high prices before a subsequent price collapse.