Essex: Veolia sells former Tendring Hundred Water company

THREE water companies in south-east England, including the former Tendring Hundred Water business in north Essex, were sold today in a deal valued at more than �1.2billion.

French group Veolia is selling its Central, Southeast and East businesses, which together serve more than 3.5million people, to Rift Acquisitions, an infrastructure fund managed by M&G, the European investment arm of insurance group Prudential, and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, part of the US-based Morgan Stanley financial services group.

The three water supply companies have a combined annual turnover of �274million and collectively employ around 1,250 people.

Veolia Water, which will retain a 10% stake in the businesses, said the move would allow it to focus on its work as a leading provider of outsourced services to the UK water industry.

More than 1,000 people work for Veolia Water Outsourcing, helping to generate turnover of more than �400million a year.

Veolia Water East, formerly known as Tendring Hundred Water Services, is based in Manningtree and covers an area also including Clacton-on-Sea and Harwich.

Veolia Water Central, formerly Three Valleys Water, covers an area including Saffron Walden, Harlow, St Albans, Luton, Wembley and Woking, while Veolia Water Southeast is the former Folkestone & Dover Water Services business.

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Olivier Bret, chief executive of Veolia Water, said: “The sale will reduce the capital intensity of the group and in doing so create a platform that will allow the company to wholly focus on its commercial outsourcing business and continue to provide a valued service to our clients and partners.

“The UK water sector is a strategically important market for Veolia Environnement and the group is committed to continuing the growth of Veolia Water and the Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies division in the UK.

“Selling the majority stake in our regulated water assets will bring Veolia Water UK in line with the Veolia Environnement operating model and enable multi-divisional environmental service offerings combining our group expertise in water, waste and energy.

“This will allow us to achieve our key ambitions for continued growth and service provision in the outsourcing arena,” he added.