Share capital
£m
Share premium account
£m
Cumulative exchange reserve
£m
Merger reserve
£m
Retained earnings
£m
Total
£m
At 1 April 2016499.82.9(5.7)329.71,878.82,705.5
Profit after tax433.9433.9
Other comprehensive (expense)/income
Remeasurement losses on defined benefit pension schemes (see note 18)(76.7)(76.7)
Tax on items taken directly to equity (see note 6)17.317.3
Foreign exchange adjustments3.73.7
Total comprehensive income3.7374.5378.2
Dividends (see note 8)(263.1)(263.1)
Equity-settled share-based payments (see note 2)3.43.4
Exercise of share options – purchase of shares(2.4)(2.4)
At 31 March 2017499.82.9(2.0)329.71,991.22,821.6
Share capital
£m
Share premium account
£m
Cumulative exchange reserve
£m
Merger reserve
£m
Retained earnings
£m
Total
£m
At 1 April 2015499.82.9(8.7)329.71,610.72,434.4
Profit after tax397.5397.5
Other comprehensive (expense)/income
Remeasurement gains on defined benefit pension schemes (see note 18)160.1160.1
Tax on items taken directly to equity (see note 6)(26.5)(26.5)
Foreign exchange adjustments3.03.0
Total comprehensive income3.0531.1534.1
Dividends (see note 8)(258.7)(258.7)
Equity-settled share-based payments (see note 2)2.32.3
Exercise of share options – purchase of shares(6.6)(6.6)
At 31 March 2016499.82.9(5.7)329.71,878.82,705.5

The merger reserve arose in the year ended 31 March 2009 on consolidation and represents the capital adjustment to reserves required to effect the reverse acquisition of United Utilities PLC by United Utilities Group PLC.