Asked By: Kyle Nelson Date: created: Aug 16 2023

Is Thames Water foreign owned

Answered By: Charles Anderson Date: created: Aug 16 2023

T hames Water is on the brink of collapse, with emergency plans being drawn up to take the company into temporary public ownership. It’s an extraordinary state of affairs: how could a business with a regional monopoly over an essential service not manage to maintain a financially sustainable footing? The answer: an extractive ownership model has seen the company loaded with debt, and returns for its investors prioritised over the needs of both people and the environment.

  1. As interest rates have risen sharply over recent months, this inherently precarious business model has come under acute and seemingly fatal pressure.
  2. The story of Thames Water is emblematic of wider failures of privatisation.
  3. Since the late 1980s, water companies in England and Wales have paid out £72bn to shareholders.

To help pay for this generosity, the water companies – which were sold off without debts – have borrowed on an exceptional scale, accumulating a debt pile of £53bn. What has this meant for customers? In real terms, bills have increased by around 40% since privatisation, yet investment by the companies has gone down by 15%.

The consequences are glaringly evident: up to 2.4bn litres of water a day (equivalent to nearly 1000 Olympic swimming pools) are leaked by English water companies. Every day, raw sewage is discharged into our rivers and seas more than 1000 times on average, for a total of over 9m hours since 2016. With this scale of neglect, it’s hardly shocking that just 14% of English rivers have adequate ecological status.

Who, then, benefits from this model, if neither people nor planet? International investors, for one. Indeed, over 70% of English water companies’ value is foreign owned. Thames Water, specifically, counts among its top investors a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi investment authority, the China Investment Corporation, and two Canadian public sector funds.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme, too, has a sizeable stake, in a paradoxical relationship that sees a vital service many beneficiaries of that scheme may use, faltering under the strain of demand for high returns for a pensions system equally under pressure. Neither can we forget the perks for water executives: the outgoing CEO of United Utilities, the UK’s most polluting water company, made an impressive £1.4m this year by selling his shares before his retirement.

It’s a self-defeating arrangement in which England and Wales are global outliers: indeed, they are globally exceptional in having wholly privatised water systems. There is a simple reason for this. Internationally, water is seen as a less attractive prospect for private investors relative to other infrastructure sectors, not least because the essential nature of the service means that operators cannot cut off provision in the event of non-payment.

  1. To compensate, government policy has actively made the sector a more attractive investment proposition through an accommodating regulatory regime and by, for example, making it relatively easier to increase tariffs.
  2. Thankfully, there is a wealth of alternative models from which we can draw inspiration.

Across Europe, the norm is for water infrastructure and services to be in public hands, owned and successfully operated for the public interest. Nor do we have to look as far as the continent: we have a readymade comparison in Scotland, which effectively resisted the privatisation of Scottish Water.

The contrast between the two is stark: users in the rest of the UK spent an estimated 10% more on water bills than those in Scotland, and the publicly owned company invested 35% more per household per year than private firms in England. What lessons can we draw from this story? That water privatisation has been an unvarnished success in only one way: the enrichment of its overseas shareholders and executives.

With Thames Water possibly following on the heels of Bulb’s emergency nationalisation, we should expect the failure of highly indebted, privatised utilities to accelerate. And perhaps above all, the simple lesson that almost every country in the world has learned: that for something as fundamental and so ill-suited to competition as water, public ownership for the public benefit is the only acceptable approach.

Mathew Lawrence is director of Common Wealth and co-author of Owning the Future with Adrienne Buller

How much of Thames Water is owned by China?

Sale by Macquarie – From 2017, under the government’s Open Water programme, and in common with all water and sewerage companies, Thames Water was required to provide entirely separate retail and wholesale operations for its commercial customers, working through a central market operator.

  • On 14 March 2017, Macquarie Group sold its remaining stake in Thames Water’s holding company to Canadian pensions group OMERS and the Kuwait Investment Authority,
  • On 22 March 2017 a record fine of £20.3m was imposed on Thames Water after large leaks of untreated sewage, totalling 1.4bn litres, occurred over a number of years.

As of July 2023, the company listed its shareholders as: OMERS (32%), the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS – 20%), Infinity Investments (a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ) (10%), British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (9%), Hermes Investment Management (manager of the BT Pension Scheme) (9%), the China Investment Corporation (9%), Queensland Investment Corporation (5%), Aquila GP Inc.

Asked By: Jacob Barnes Date: created: Feb 13 2024

Is Thames Water privately owned

Answered By: Herbert Brooks Date: created: Feb 13 2024

Who owns Thames Water? – The company is privately owned by a mix of people and businesses. The consortium of pension funds and sovereign wealth funds owns the entire business. More than 90 per cent of English water companies are owned by international investors, private equity funds, and banks The largest shareholder as of July 2023 is the Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (Omers) — about 32 per cent.

Other investors include China’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation — almost 9 per cent; the UK’s biggest private pension fund, the Universities Superannuation Scheme — 20 per cent; and Infinity Investments, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority — 10 per cent. Other investors, according to the Independent, include the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (8.7 per cent); Hermes GPE (8.7 per cent); Queensland Investment Corporation (5.4 per cent); Aquila GP Inc (5 per cent); and Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (2.2 per cent).

Sarah Bentley was the chief executive of Thames Water until she announced her resignation on June 28, 2023 Bentley, who was appointed in 2020, said in May 2023 that she would give up her bonus after the company’s environmental and customer performance suffered.

Asked By: Ralph Reed Date: created: Apr 23 2023

Who are the main shareholders of Thames Water

Answered By: Jake Martin Date: created: Apr 24 2023

Who owns Thames Water, how much money does it owe and what might happen next?

  • The is on stand-by to step in should struggling utility collapse.
  • As reports emerged this week that the company needs more money to survive, the PA news agency looks at the problems facing Thames and what the future may hold.
  • – Who actually owns Thames Water?
  • Through a series of holding companies, Thames Water is co-owned by a series of pension funds and foreign governments.

The biggest single shareholder is the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, which holds around 32% of the shares. Another pension fund, the UK-based Universities Superannuation Scheme, holds another 20%. Around 10% of the shares are owned by a subsidiary of the sovereign wealth fund, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, and China’s sovereign wealth fund owns a little under 9%.

Other investors include the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (8.7%), Hermes GPE (8.7%), Queensland Investment Corporation (5.4%), Aquila GP Inc (5%), and Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (2.2%). – How much does Thames Water owe and how has its debt pile grown? As of last September, Thames Water owed around £13.8 billion to its lenders, a figure that was around £840 million higher than six months earlier.

The company’s net debt has grown from just under £11 billion in 2018. Much of the debt was added when Thames Water was owned by Macquarie, the massive investor. In December 2005, before Macquarie bought the utility, Thames Water’s net debt was just £2.4 billion.

  1. Thames Water had no debt when it was privatised by Margaret Thatcher in 1989.
  2. What interest does Thames Water pay on its debt?
  3. Interest rates have been soaring over the last year for most people, and Thames Water is no different.

On average the interest that Thames Water paid on its debt was 6.63% in the year that ended in March 2022, compared to 4.55% in 2020. As of last March, around £5.6 billion of Thames Water’s debt was at fixed interest rates, but around £7.7 billion of it was linked to retail price index inflation (RPI).

The company says that its loans are linked to inflation because the amount it charges customers also rises hand-in-hand with inflation. However customer bills are linked to the consumer prices index (CPI), not to RPI. RPI has been much higher than CPI in recent times, putting extra pressure on the water company’s finances.

In May this year, RPI was at 11.3% while CPI was only 8.7%. RPI peaked at 14.2% in October last year.

  • – What could happen if the Government has to step in?
  • While most companies enter administration when they fail, some companies are considered too important to go bust.
  • Water and energy companies are among these because if they stop operating people could lose access to vital resources.
  • So for these companies the Government or regulator Ofwat can apply to a court to appoint a special administrator.
  • If called in, the special administrator would continue to run the company as usual, ensuring that water supplies to homes and businesses continue.
  • The administrator would also try to find another investor or private company to buy Thames Water and bring it out of administration.

The special administration regime (SAR) has only been used once before, when Bulb Energy collapsed in late 2021. Bulb was later bought by its former rival Octopus. – Is my water supply in danger? No. If you live in one of the 15 million households in London and the South East of England your water supply is not going to be interrupted no matter what happens to Thames Water.

  1. In every scenario, the taps will keep running for Thames Water’s customers.
  2. As Ofwat explained in 2015: “The purpose of the special administration regime is not to keep a company in business but rather to ensure that the provision of services to customers is maintained.”
  3. – Are other water companies in a similar state?
  4. There are other water companies that are in precarious financial positions, according to the water regulator.
  5. In December, Ofwat flagged five firms which it said it was most worried about.
  6. They were Thames Water, Portsmouth, Yorkshire, Southern and SES Water.
  7. These companies all have higher-than-average gearing levels – which mean they have a higher proportion of debt compared to their equity.

However, Thames Water had the highest gearing level last year and the largest debt pile out of the five companies. Ofwat said it was monitoring and engaging with the five firms in a bid to strengthen their financial resilience. : Who owns Thames Water, how much money does it owe and what might happen next?

Asked By: Carlos Scott Date: created: Aug 31 2023

Which countries own the UK water companies

Answered By: Christian Bell Date: created: Sep 02 2023

Revealed: more than 70% of English water industry is in foreign ownership Foreign investment firms, private equity, pension funds and businesses lodged in tax havens own more than 70% of the water industry in England, according to research by the Guardian.

The complex web of ownership is revealed as the public and some politicians increasingly call for the industry to be held to account for sewage dumping, leaks and water shortages. Six water companies are under investigation for potentially illegal activities as pressure grows on the industry to put more money into replacing and restoring crumbling infrastructure to protect both the environment and public health.

More than three decades after the sector was sold off with a promise to the public they would become individual small shareholders or “H 2 Owners”, control of the water industry has become dominated by overseas investment vehicles, the super-rich, companies in tax havens and pension fund investors.

The ownership structure is such that transparency and accountability are limited, according to Dr Kate Bayliss, a research associate with the department of economics at Soas University of London. International investment funds with large stakes include several household names as well as sovereign wealth funds.

For example the Qatar Investment Authority is the third largest shareholder in Severn Trent, with a 4.6% holding, while almost 10% is held by the US investment company BlackRock and its subsidiaries, according to analysis of shareholdings as of October this year.

A subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has a 9.9% stake in Thames, while 8.7% is owned by China, the analysis shows. The Guardian has tracked more than 100 shareholders of the nine main water and sewerage companies and six smaller firms that serve customers in England. The research reveals at least 72% of the industry is controlled by firms in 17 countries, while UK firms own 10%.

Ownership of 82% of the water industry was traced overall. Most water firms in England are now privately owned. Only three; Severn Trent; Pennon Group, the parent company of South West Water, and United, are listed on the stock exchange. But their shares are largely owned by the same type of infrastructure funds and private equity firms that own water companies in private hands.

  • Bayliss has carried out academic research of the industry ownership structures and said: “This is a quite different model to how one might expect a private company to operate.
  • It’s not simply a case of the owner aiming to raise revenue and lower costs and keep the profits.
  • Private equity earnings are more likely to be achieved by restructuring company finances, or financial engineering than productivity improvements” “There is a much stronger focus on extracting revenue, rather than the long-term health of a company It creates risky financial structures.

We’ve seen some retail companies collapse with this private equity structure,” she added. The ownership structure of some water companies was so complex and opaque that it was impossible to know exactly who owned them, said Bayliss. “Is it possible to work out what funds are flowing where? Some fund managers I’ve spoken have told me: ‘You’ll never get it.

  • Unless you are an insider, you just can’t work it out.'” By country the US has the strongest foothold in English water companies, with investment firms owning nearly 17% overall.
  • Canadian and Australian companies are the second and third biggest overall investors in English water.
  • BlackRock has stakes in Pennon, Severn Trent, United Utilities and Bristol Water.

Other US private equity firms also have footholds in the English water industry. Lazard Asset Management and the Vanguard Group both hold shares in Pennon, Severn Trent and United Utilities. Two Canadian pension funds, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Canada Pension Plan, own a third of Thames and Anglian Water respectively.

Macquarie, an Australian investment firm, moved in to shore up Southern Water last year with a £1bn injection after the company for dumping billions of litres of raw sewage into coastal waters off Kent and Hampshire. The fine came after what the judge said was a history of criminality for previous and persistent pollution of the environment.

Macquarie, which reported half-yearly profits of more than £1.3bn in November, owns 62% of Southern. Another 15% of the water company is controlled by the US investment firm JP Morgan Asset Management. Another Australian investment firm, IFM Global Infrastructure Fund, has a 20% stake in Anglian Water, whose parent company, Anglian Water Group, is registered in the tax haven of Jersey.

Overall Australian investment companies control 11% of English water. At least a fifth of the industry is owned by corporations based in Asia. Northumbrian Water, which supplies 2.7 million people in north-east England, is ultimately owned by the Cayman Islands-registered, the business empire of Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest individual.

This summer the CK Group sold to the New York-listed private equity firm KKR for £867m. In Yorkshire the water provided to homes and businesses, and the wastewater treatment, is owned by a consortium of private investment groups based in Singapore, the US and Germany as well as an Australian pension fund.

Ash Smith, a co-founder of the campaign group Windrush Against Sewage Pollution who has investigated water companies for several years, said: “The smell of privatisation and weak regulation reached far across the globe and attracted the most powerful and clever shareholders’ funds.”The deal was unbelievable – buy a refundable stake in a water monopoly and feast on the guaranteed annual bills from captive customers in exchange for nothing.”The ownership of the water industry is being exposed as the government orders firms to spend £56bn over 25 years to reduce the scale of raw sewage discharges into waterways from storm overflows.The government has said the cash injection amounts to the “largest infrastructure project to restore the environment in water company history”.

But it is not the web of international investment firms and private equity that is being asked to pay for the capital investment. Instead, ordinary customers are to foot the bill, according to the storm overflow plan released by the government. The public will pay on average £42 a year to foot the bill for reducing sewage discharges.

But some customers will pay much more; particularly those living in areas served by Wessex Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities who could be asked to pay more than three times that figure because their companies have the biggest investment programmes to tackle storm overflows, according to the government.

Wessex Water, which supplies more than 1 million customers in Bristol Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset is fully owned by YTL Corporation Berhad, a Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate helmed by Francis Yeoh. the industry was investing record amounts of private money into the sector.

  1. Yorkshire, Southern and Thames said they had not paid dividends for seven, five and five years respectively.
  2. Yorkshire said it was not expecting to pay dividends during its five-year business plan period to 2025.
  3. Martin Bradley, the head of Macquarie Asset Management’s real assets team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said Southern Water was showing early signs of operational improvements after the investment made by Macquarie.

“We are focused on accelerating this momentum, supporting Southern Water as it delivers on our commitments and invests the equivalent of £1,000 per household in its region this regulatory period to upgrade its infrastructure,” he said. A spokesperson for BlackRock said that as a minority investor on behalf of its clients, the firm engaged with publicly listed UK water companies on governance and material sustainability risks.

  • It is not, however, the role of minority investors to direct these companies – this role is the responsibility of their management teams with appropriate board oversight, and as determined by their regulator,” they said.
  • Severn Trent said it had invested £25bn in infrastructure, including £100m each year improving the rivers in its region.

The company said it believed paying dividends was important, and a large proportion of its shareholders were retail investors, including more than 70% of its employees, and pension funds that depended on dividends every year. United Utilities said it had a strong track-record of responsibly raising debt at low rates to fund long-term investment in water and wastewater systems, and to deliver a better service for customers, to protect the environment and ensure affordable bills.

  • South West Water said it had invested £9bn into the region’s water and wastewater infrastructure, delivering improved performance for customers and the environment.
  • Anglian Water said it had invested about £20bn since privatisation to reduce leakage and to improve drinking water quality and the environment; all of which was made possible almost entirely through private financing.

The company said net dividends it had paid by Anglian Water since 2010 were well below the level expected by the regulator. Wessex Water said dividends paid reflected the allowed regulated return, plus any outperformance rewards. The company said YTL had been a stable owner for more than 20 years and was committed to long-term stewardship of an important public service asset.

Is the UK the only country with Privatised water?

Forms of privatization – Broadly speaking, there are two forms of private sector participation in water supply and sanitation. In a full privatization, assets are permanently sold to a private investor. In a public-private partnership, ownership of assets remains public and only certain functions are delegated to a private company for a specific period.

  • a management contract, under which the private operator is only responsible for running the system, in exchange for a fee that is to some extent performance-related. Investment is financed and carried out by the public sector. The duration is typically 4–7 years.
  • a lease contract, under which assets are leased to the private operator who receives a share of revenues. It thus typically bears a higher commercial risk than under a management contract. Investment is fully or mostly financed and carried out by the public sector. The duration is typically 10–15 years.
  • a mixed-ownership company in which a private investor takes a minority share in a water company with full management responsibility vested in the private partner.
  • a concession, under which the private operator is responsible for running the entire system. Investment is mostly or fully financed and carried out by the private operator. The duration is typically 20–30 years.

Concessions are the most common form of PPPs in water supply and sanitation. They are followed by leases, also called affermages, most commonly used in France and Francophone West Africa. Management contracts are used in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Armenia, among others.

Asked By: Timothy Torres Date: created: Mar 16 2024

Is Thames Water in debt

Answered By: Harold Foster Date: created: Mar 19 2024

Thames Water secures extra £750m from shareholders to help stave off nationalisation Thames Water has secured £750m of emergency funding from its shareholders but the debt-ridden company warned it would need further funding in the years ahead. The new funds come on top of the £500m investors pumped into Britain’s biggest water company in March.

  1. The company said on Monday it had secured £750m to run to March 2025.
  2. It indicated that a further £2.5bn would be needed to cover the five years to 2030 and said shareholders had “acknowledged” further equity support would be needed to turn around the ailing company.
  3. Last year, Thames secured an agreement that its shareholders would put £1.5bn into the ailing water firm.
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The first cash injection, of £500m, came in March while a further £1bn had been expected this year. It is understood the company believes that £750m is the maximum it can feasibly spend over the next two years with its current resources. Asked about the £250m shortfall on the expected £1bn, Alastair Cochran, the firm’s interim co-chief executive, said it related to “the phasing of when we need the money” and said the figure represented less than two months’ worth of capital expenditure.

  • Thames said the funding was contingent on a new business plan.
  • It is entirely reasonable for them to want to see that plan before committing, albeit they have always followed through in the past,” Cochran said.
  • David Black, the chief executive of the regulator, Ofwat, that investors lacked “appetite” to put more money into the industry, and needed to have confidence in Thames’s turnaround plan.

The regulator’s chair, Iain Coucher, said there were “ongoing conversations about the remaining £1bn and whether that is sufficient”. Cochran and Cathryn Ross, the firm’s other chief executive, said: “This announcement is a major milestone for Thames and all our stakeholders.

The substantial equity support package announced today will underpin the delivery of a more focused turnaround plan that builds on the foundations that have been put in place over the last two years and focuses expenditure on a smaller number of initiatives, which will deliver material and sustainable improvements in key performance metrics over the next three years.” Ross and Cochran said it had been an “extremely challenging” year.

They said record temperatures, a drought and freezing conditions had put “unprecedented pressure” on its network, while high energy and chemical prices had hit its profits. Only 55% of its annual performance commitments were met. “In short, our performance was not as we – or our customers – wanted it to be,” they said.

  1. Thames needs the funding to upgrade its infrastructure after leakage rates hit five-year highs last year and it repeatedly released sewage into rivers.
  2. Thames was last week £3.34m for a “reckless” incident in 2017 in which millions of litres of undiluted sewage was pumped into rivers near Gatwick, killing 1,700 fish.

The Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, Tim Farron MP, said: “It’s time to rip up Thames Water and reform it from top to bottom. This scandal-ridden firm has put profit first, leading to animals being killed while the Conservatives turn a blind eye.

  • Ministers have been dismissing the sewage crisis for far too long, instead of taking meaningful action they sat on their hands.” Thames said its annual revenues rose by 4% to £2.3bn while underlying profits had fallen by 3% to £1.1bn because of “higher operating costs”.
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For more information see our, We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google and apply. after newsletter promotion Thames said its ratio debt to capital value, or gearing, had fallen to its lowest level in 10 years at 77.4% from 80.6%, although some companies in the debt-laden industry have ratios about 60%.

The consortium that owns Thames took ownership in 2017 and has not taken a dividend since, but the company has paid internal dividends. It paid £45.2m in the year to the end of March 2023, up from £37m a year earlier. The company announced the shock resignation of the former chief executive Sarah Bentley late last month, and hours later it emerged that officials were,

Thames, which serves 15 million customers, has been struggling under a £14bn debt pile as rapidly rising interest rates have pushed up the cost of borrowing. The company spent £476.5m servicing its debts during the year to 31 March. Thames’s largest investor is Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (Omers), a Canadian pension fund, alongside the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), China Investment Corporation and Abu Dhabi’s Infinity Investments.

Ofwat has faced questions over its scrutiny of Thames, while former owner Macquarie, which sold its final stake in 2017, has been accused of loading the company with debts. In May, England’s water companies said they would invest £10bn to invest in tackling leaks and sewage pollution and upgrading networks.

Customer bills are, Bentley was criticised when the Guardian she was due to receive long-term incentive payments worth nearly double her annual salary despite her forgoing her annual bonus. Details of her severance package are expected to be included in next year’s annual report.

Who owns the biggest water company?

When you think of a profitable enterprise, bottled water might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, the profit margins for bottled water companies is considerable, typically ranging from 50% to 200%. Consider the explosion in popularity of vitamin water in the 2000s, or perhaps the rise of bottled water brands with sleek, fashionable bottle designs in the last few years.

  • Companies in the space are constantly developing new products and adapting their marketing strategies in a bid to win market share over each other.
  • So, if you’re an investor or planning to enter the industry yourself, it’s prudent to study what the existing industry giants are doing with success.
  • Luckily, we’ve gathered the top 10 largest bottled water companies in the world, based on their 2021 gross annual sales.

Nestle Waters, Headquarters: Paris, France Annual sales: $104.11 billion Nestle Waters is a subsidiary under the larger Nestle corporation, which also sells other beverages and snacks such as flavored milk and chocolate, The company operates 94 production facilities over 34 different countries, and continuously innovates and markets itself to remain relevant and popular among consumers.

Much of Nestle’s marketing strategy is devoted to researching the positive health benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated, and then spreading those findings among the public with their own name attached. For example, when Nestle first developed a line of flavored sparkling water, they marketed it as a healthier alternative to more densely sugar-packed drinks such as sodas and juices.

Find Nestle Waters North America Jobs Near Me Danone. Headquarters: Paris, France Annual Sales: $30.22 billion Danone Bottled’s popularity peaked in 2015 when the company possessed a 10.1% market share in the global bottled water industry, an enormous figure of over $200 billion.

Although the company has lost ground to other names since then, it’s still one of the best-selling bottled water brands in the world. Like Nestle Waters, Danone Bottled leans heavily into the themes of hydration and health when advertising their product. Another reason for their success is the usability of their bottled waters.

Almost every design aspect of Danone Bottled’s products is focused on making them more practical and easier to transport and use for consumers. This makes them extremely popular for offices and families bulk-packaging bottled water for travel or special events.

  1. Tingyi/Master Kong.
  2. Headquarters: Tianjin, China Annual Revenue: $11.44 billion The Master Kong bottled water brand is owned by Tingyi Holdings Corporation, a company founded in 1996 and based out of Tianjin, China.
  3. In addition to beverages such as bottled water and soft drinks, the company also sells noodles, baked products, and tea,

Master Kong is mainly sold in China, with nearly no sales or marketing presence in the United States. Still, the brand held 12% market share of the global bottled-water market in 2014. Tingyi doesn’t focus on one particular aspect when marketing their bottled water products.

Instead, they focus on various elements such as their health benefits, purity, and refreshing mineral taste. Dasani. Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia Gross annual sales: $3.79 billion Dasani, owned by the Coca-Cola company, is another well-known bottled water brand that was founded in 1999. The brand separates itself from Aquafina with water that their tagline claims is “enriched with minerals for a pure, fresh taste.” The water, also sourced from municipal tap, is injected with trace amounts of minerals after it undergoes a purification process in order to create a distinct flavor.

Just like Aquafina, the Dasani brand sells both flavored and unflavored water, as well as many merchandising products that display the Dasani name. A little known fact is that even Dasani’s unflavored water actually contains small amounts of natural fruit flavor, making it even more unique than other bottled water brands.

Aquafina. Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas Gross annual sales: $872 million Aquafina was established in 1999 and has since become the largest bottled water brand in the world. Currently owned by PepsiCo, the company produces both flavored and unflavored water, as well as other branded products such as lip balm and even clothing.

Aquafina sources its water from municipal tap, and then refines it through a purification process involving reverse osmosis and ultraviolet sterilization, resulting in a distinct taste that millions of consumers have grown accustomed to. Marketing and logistics play large parts in the success of any bottled water company, two fronts that Aquafina excels in.

  1. Aquafina has access to an extremely broad and efficient distribution network due to their ownership under Pepsico.
  2. They also market the packaging of their products as extremely environment-friendly, boosting their sales with an increasingly growing base of environmentally-conscious consumers.
  3. Glaceau SmartWater.

Headquarters: Whitestone, New York Gross annual sales: $830 million Glaceau SmartWater separates itself from the other bottled water companies by focusing specifically on their purification process, or rather the lack of one. Many of their advertisements claim that their water is as “pure as the first drop of rain,” focusing on how they don’t tamper or add any sort of minerals or flavoring to the water they source.

That doesn’t mean that Glaceau SmartWater simply sells water to consumers straight from the tap. Rather, they use a unique process that simulates the natural hydrologic cycle, vapor distilling water so that it essentially becomes like rainwater before it reaches the ground and becomes polluted. This unique process and marketing approach has found great success with consumers seeking water that’s as pure as untouched as possible, launching the company into the fourth best-selling bottled water brand in the world.

Poland Spring. Headquarters: Poland, Maine Gross annual sales: $670 million Although Poland Spring has lost most of its market share to other companies since its peak in 2006, it still remains one of the best-selling bottled water in the United States.

  • Founded and headquartered in Poland, Maine, the company produces a variety of different beverage products including sparkling, distilled, and spring water.
  • Many of these products also come with numerous choice flavors, such as orange, lemon, and lime.
  • Most of Poland Spring’s water is sourced from natural springs in Maine, and then transported to New England for purification and packaging.

The company is especially well known in Maine not just because of their main operations, but because of various water donation programs that they run to bring bottled water to struggling communities. In 2016 alone, Poland spring donated over 800,000 bottles of water in the state of Maine.

  1. Much of Poland Spring’s marketing is focused on the spring water aspect of their product.
  2. This can be seen in their name, tagline of “100% natural spring water,” as well as packaging that displays picturesque scenes of natural rivers. Ozarka.
  3. Headquarters: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Gross annual sales: $579.0 million Ozarka sells various beverage products including spring, distilled, and sparkling water.

The majority of their water is sourced from three springs spread across 150 miles along the eastern side of Texas, Texas also contributes to the majority of Ozarka’s bottled water sales. Much of this is due to the public attention that the company generated through their conservation efforts and environmentally-sustainable business processes.

  • Deer Park.
  • Headquarters: Deer Park, Maryland Gross annual sales: $58.1 million If you’re familiar with bottled water brands, it’s extremely common for companies that source their water from their neighboring municipal tap water to claim that it actually comes from natural spring water.
  • Deer Park differs in that their tagline of “100% Natural Spring Water” is completely true.

Starting with one spring in the Appalachian Mountains, the company has since expanded its operations to 13 other springs spread across four states. Their products include both flavored and unflavored bottled water, and are all free of sugars or color additives.

Deer Park is also unique in that they’ve been in the bottled water business for an extremely long time. While most other leading brands were established in the 90s, Deer Park was founded in 1873. Fiji Water, Headquarters: Los Angeles, California Gross annual sales: $43.0 million Although Fiji isn’t the largest bottled water brand, they are the largest exporter of the product in the United States and they sell their water to over 60 countries around the world.

Fiji was founded in 1996, but really saw most of their explosive growth in popularity after 2010. Much of this is attributed to the sleek, trendy look of their bottles, making them extremely popular among younger consumers. It isn’t uncommon for fans of the brand to pose at home with their Fiji water bottles on social media, boosting their visibility and sales.

This has actually led to a pattern of major bottled water companies redesigning their packaging to be more visually appealing. In many ways, Fiji’s marketing and design strategies are polar opposites to those of Danone Bottled. Danone Bottled prioritizes functionality of design, making them popular among consumers who just need bulk bottled water to prepare for travel or large events.

In contrast, Fiji sells high-priced individual bottles to customers that just want to buy one for themselves. Find Fiji Water Jobs Near Me What are the three largest water bottling companies? The three largest water bottling companies are:

Nestle Waters Danone Tingyi/Master Kong

What company owns most of the bottled water industry? Nestle owns most of the bottled water industry. This is in terms of sales. Nestle’s subsidiary, Nestle Waters, owns many popular brands of bottled water, including Perrier, San Pellegrino, and Acqua Panna.

Why is Thames Water in debt?

One in four people in Britain rely on Thames Water for their supply – but there is a question mark over the company’s future. That’s because of its £14bn debt. It needs to pay some of that back soon, and it is trying to secure extra cash as the government considers whether it will need to step in.

Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening at England’s largest water company. A mountain of debt Thames Water is sitting on a £14bn debt pile. A debt pile is exactly what is sounds like – an accumulation of debt. In Thames Water’s case, the debts started to accumulate after it was privatised in 1989.

A large proportion of the debt was built up during the 11 years it was under the ownership of Australian investment bank Macquarie, By the time it was sold in 2017, it had a debt pile of £10bn. High interest rates in the past year have added to the debt.

  1. About 10% of the £14bn debt pile is due to be paid at the end of this year as a bond matures.
  2. A scramble to secure extra cash Thames Water has said it is working “constructively” with shareholders to find the necessary funds, reportedly £1bn.
  3. It received £500m from shareholders in March.
  4. Its largest shareholder is Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a vast Canadian pension fund.

Others include China’s sovereign wealth fund; the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the UK’s biggest private pension fund, and Abu Dhabi’s Infinity Investments. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Will Thames Water collapse? Will the government step in? The government has confirmed it has “contingency plans” if Thames Water is not able to repay its debts but has not revealed the details.

On Wednesday, Sky News revealed the government is discussing placing Thames Water into a special administration regime (SAR) that would effectively take the company into temporary public ownership if it collapses. This kind of insolvency process was used when the energy supplier Bulb collapsed in 2021, sparking concerns that it could cost taxpayers billions of pounds.

The government response would ensure service was still provided to all Thames Water customers. What does it mean for customers’ bills? Thames Water customers have been assured that “absolutely nothing” will happen to their bills, Health minister Neil O’Brien told Sky News: “Absolutely nothing is going to happen in terms of either their bills or their access to water, we have contingency plans – like we do in all of these network utilities – to manage any difficult situations.” Spreaker This content is provided by Spreaker, which may be using cookies and other technologies.

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To view this content you can use the button below to allow Spreaker cookies for this session only. Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts What controversy has Thames Water faced? Thames Water has come under intense pressure in recent years because of its poor record on leaks, sewage contamination, executive pay and shareholder dividends.

  • In 2021, it was fined £4m for allowing untreated sewage to escape into a river and park – and, in the same year, was ordered to pay £11m for overcharging thousands of customers,
  • It was hit with a record £20.3m fine in 2017 for repeatedly allowing raw sewage to flow into the Thames, just a year after it had paid the largest fine for a single pollution incident of £1m.

Read more: Ministers weigh contingency plan for collapse of Thames Water Pressure on ‘rip off’ water industry unlikely to go away any time soon What happened to the chief executive? Sarah Bentley, who was chief executive of Thames Water for less than three years, stepped down on Tuesday with immediate effect.

How much is the CEO of Thames Water paid?

The £1.6 million she will receive for 2022-23 is not too far off the £2 million she received in the prior year — which included a £496,000 bonus — and is more than the £1.2 million she received in her first year’s service.

Asked By: Dylan Jones Date: created: Feb 17 2023

How is Thames Water funded

Answered By: Peter Smith Date: created: Feb 18 2023

We’re here to provide clean, fresh drinking water and recycle their waste. Our revenue comes from the bills we send our customers for the essential water and wastewater services we provide.

How much money does Thames Water owe?

Contingency plans being drawn up for Thames Water collapse

  • Contingency plans for the collapse of Thames are being drawn up by the UK government and the industry watchdog amid fears that Britain’s biggest water company cannot survive because of its huge debt pile.
  • Ministers and the water regulator Ofwat are holding discussions about the possibility of placing Thames Water into a special administration regime (SAR) that would take the company into temporary public ownership.
  • In a statement to the stock market, the company said it had received an expected £500m of new funding from shareholders in March and was continuing to work constructively with them “in relation to the further equity funding expected to be required to support Thames Water’s turnaround and investment plans”.

It continued: “Ofwat is being kept fully informed on progress of the company’s turnaround and engagement with shareholders Thames Water continues to maintain a strong liquidity position, including £4.4bn of cash and committed funding, as at 31 March.”

  1. Thames is owned by a number of pension funds and sovereign wealth investors including the BT pension scheme, the Canadian funds Omers and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, the China Investment Corporation and the UK lecturers’ pension fund USS.
  2. Its former owner between 2006 and 2017, the Australian bank Macquarie, was accused of asset stripping as it extracted billions in shareholder dividends while Thames’s debt soared.
  3. The water company is struggling with a £14bn debt burden, the and, like many of its rivals, it has been repeatedly fined over the discharge of raw sewage into rivers and missing targets on pollution and sewer flooding.

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, met the competition and utilities regulators on Wednesday to discuss cracking down on any companies and water companies’ plans to to pay for tackling the sewage and climate crises. The SAR bailout process was last used in late 2021 when the energy supplier Bulb went bust.

The company was that had access to government funds to keep it running to supply gas and electricity to its 1.7 million household customers. A year later, Bulb was sold to the rival company Octopus Energy. A government spokesperson said: “This is a matter for the company and its shareholders. We prepare for a range of scenarios across our regulated industries – including water – as any responsible government would.

The sector as a whole is financially resilient. Ofwat continues to monitor the financial position of all the key water and wastewater companies.” An Ofwat spokesperson said: “We monitor the financial position of all the key water and wastewater companies.

  • We have been in ongoing discussions with Thames Water on the need for a robust and credible plan to turn the business around and transform its performance for customers and the environment.
  • We will continue to focus on protecting customers’ interests.” The talks between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ofwat and the Treasury remain at a preliminary stage and the contingency plans may not be acted upon, according to Sky, which,

Darren Jones, the Labour MP who chairs the parliamentary business and trade committee, said Ofwat had a case to answer over the problems in the industry, and he was “increasingly sick” of seeing the same failings. Sign up to Business Today Get set for the working day – we’ll point you to all the business news and analysis you need every morning Privacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties.

  • For more information see our,
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  • After newsletter promotion “We know that companies that are too important to fail must be regulated differently to other companies,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
  • For too many years, decades even, we’ve allowed these companies to be operated with high-risk stakes, with high levels of debt, with wealth being extracted from the companies, with investment not being high enough.

“And then, once again, we’re in a situation where we’re being told that customers, taxpayers, are going to have to pick up the bill for a failure of good corporate behaviour at these companies, and by the sounds of it poor regulation. These companies have been allowed to not invest for the future, even though we know in many ways what we needed them to do for the future, and the regulators have allowed them to get away with it.” After the, Sarah Bentley, on Tuesday, Thames is now being run by joint interim chief executives – Alastair Cochran, the chief finance officer, and Cathryn Ross, the strategy and regulatory affairs director and a former head of Ofwat.

Bentley stepped down a month after giving up her annual bonuses because of the firm’s environmental track record. Hunt is to meet the and the watchdogs for energy, water and communications later on Wednesday. They are expected to discuss reports that water bills across England will rise by up to 40% to pay for the cost of tackling the sewage crisis.

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Citing public consultation documents, annual bills could increase from an average of about £450 to £680, plus inflation, in parts of the country by the end of the decade. : Contingency plans being drawn up for Thames Water collapse

Asked By: Cole Foster Date: created: Nov 02 2023

How much has Thames Water profited since privatisation

Answered By: Kyle Moore Date: created: Nov 05 2023

Good morning from New Economy Brief. ‍ Last week, reports emerged that the Government was on standby to put Thames Water into special administration, Despite the initial promise of efficiency and investment following privatisation in 1989, critics argue that Thames Water and other privatised water companies have neglected essential infrastructure upgrades, leading to pollution and mounting corporate debt.

With debts reaching approximately £14 billion ( roughly 80% of the value of the assets of the business ), Thames Water faces the risk of collapse, prompting concerns about the continuity of water and sewerage services for its 15 million customers. While the UK government may step in to manage the company temporarily, many see this as a much needed opportunity to renationalise.

‍ In this week’s newsletter, we explore the lessons from Thames Water, the problems with water privatisation and what can (and can’t) be done about it. A lost three decades? The potential collapse of Thames Water isn’t the first time that water privatisation has been deemed a failure from across the political spectrum.

A list of failures. Whatever your politics, it would be difficult to argue that England’s privatised water companies have done a good job in recent years. According to Ofwat, water companies in England and Wales lost more than one trillion litres of water via leaky pipes last year, Since privatisation, water companies have sold off 25 reservoirs (and not replaced them). And of course, who can forget sewage dumping, In the words of the Environment Agency, the environmental performance of England’s nine water companies is ” the worst we have seen for years “.

‍ Investment has declined since privatisation. Privatisation has failed to deliver what it was supposedly introduced to achieve: increased investment, argues Professor David Hall of the University of Greenwich. In fact, companies have invested ” no net additional shareholder funds (equity) since privatisation ” meaning that “money has been taken out, not put in”.

Debts are climbing. At the beginning of privatisation, all water companies were debt free. Now, however, they are collectively in debt of nearly £52 billion and a large (and increasing) bill for interest. Analysis by Karol Yearwood in 2018 found that any investment that does occur is almost entirely financed through income from customers, ” usually with sufficient cash remaining to cover interest payments “. As Professor David Hall argues, companies are essentially getting further and further into debt simply to pay huge shareholder dividends.

‍ Who are the shareholders? The privatisation of water has been described as ” a cash cow for investment firms and private equity companies “. According to Professor David Hall, English water companies paid shareholders a total of £18.9 billion in dividends from 2010 to 2021,

Overseas investors, Since 2006, Thames Water ” has been owned by a consortium of institutional investors, including funds from China and Abu Dhabi “. Infamously, it was managed by the Australian Macquarie Capital Funds, notorious for its “focus on profits”, However, Macquarie sold its shares in 2017, leaving Thames Water ” with an extra £2bn debt burden “. Now, the largest share (26%) of Thames Water belongs to Kuwaiti and Canadian investors, represented by the Kemble Water Holdings holding company. This is where it gets murky – there are about seven other intermediary companies between Kemble and Thames Water customers ( helpful diagram here ). England is unusual in having all of its water companies in private ownership, but most of the beneficiaries of this system are based overseas. Research by the Guardian found that 72% of English water is owned by offshore investors which include “private and state-owned international funds, banks, multinationals and billionaires headquartered outside the UK”. “An experiment in complex financial engineering”. The huge debts we see at Thames Water and other companies may in fact exist by design, not by accident. England has been “at the forefront” of the ‘financialisation’ of infrastructure in which ” diverse physical structures have been transformed into financial assets “. According to Kate Bayliss, this can be traced back to the 2000s when ” a new kind of financial investor began to dominate the sector “. By 2021, nine out of 15 English water and sewage companies were owned by “special purpose companies”. These investors, made up of private equity funds, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, have been able to generate significant shareholder returns by “hiking up debts”, Bayliss argues. Increased debt has been used to refinance water companies “so that investors could repay themselves part of the original cost of buying the water utility”, she explains. However, a ” perfect storm ” of inflation, high interest rates and pressure to improve performance mean that the high levels of debt we see now, as in the case of Thames Water, are becoming increasingly unsustainable.

‍ So, what now? It is possible that the shareholders of Thames Water could bail out the company. But failing that, the government will have to step in in some way. One option is that Thames Water will be put into special administration, a power outlined in the Water Industry Act 1991 which can be used when a private company is on the brink of collapse.

Renationalisation? Many view the current situation with Thames Water and the apparent failure of privatisation more generally as an obvious case for renationalisation. Of course, public ownership would eliminate profit motives and dividend obligations. However, this isn’t necessarily so straightforward. Opponents of renationalisation argue that taking Thames Water into public ownership would require transferring corporate debt onto the government’s balance sheet, which some would argue is unfair for taxpayers to foot the bill and pay the debts incurred under poor management. Additionally, the administration process typically involves asset sales to repay debts, but in the case of a water company, the integrated and complex infrastructure makes breaking up assets impractical. Buying the assets from the shareholders would entail an enormous cost, necessitating adequate compensation for existing shareholders, including pension funds. Reducing the costs to the Treasury. Think tank Common Wealth argues that the answer to this problem lies in the 1991 Water Industry Act. Under the act, they argue that the government could trigger special administration proceedings and use these to facilitate the transfer to public ownership: “the special administration procedure enables secured debts to creditors to be reduced, subordinated, or removed, where they would not be ” consistent with the purposes of the special administration order”. Such an order’s purposes include ensuring a water company’s ” functions. may be properly carried out ” such as stopping leaks or pollution. This will reduce or eliminate the cost of transfer to public ownership.” Regional ownership. Nationalisation does not have to mean direct ownership by central government. All three failing water companies (Southern Water, South East Water and Thames Water) could be taken into special administration but then, instead of being renationalised, could be ” transferred into public ownership under the councils in the region as the first regional publicly owned water company “. Enforcement. The Water Industry Act 1991 also enables ministers and regulators to issue enforcement orders to control the company’s behaviour. They could order the company to pay down debts, restructure, reduce payouts or keep bills down. Critics of this approach argue that this is essentially renationalisation but without the same level of accountability, Let it go bust. Some have suggested that the government could let Thames Water go bust and take it back into public ownership then. However, this would have profound implications for customers and as the Guardian’s Environment Correspondent Sandra Laville explains, is “simply not allowed”. The Welsh model, Academics Robert Branston and Phil Tomlinson propose that Thames Water follows the “unusual” example set in Wales, “Welsh Water has a unique corporate structure, with no shareholders and is run solely for the benefit of its customers. It is commercially run, with professional managers held to account by 62 independent trustees. While not perfect, its performance in recent years compares favourably with that of the other privatised water companies”, Branston and Tomlinson argue. They admit that creating such an organisation “would not be easy” but does have a precedent in the case of Network Rail “which was created when its commercial predecessor Railtrack went bust”. Railtrack’s debts were subsumed into Network Rail and underwritten by the government. Branston and Tomlinson explain that “while it is true that these public-interest companies are funded by debt, a government debt guarantee helps keep the costs of servicing this debt down (while costing the government very little)”. Regulation and social purpose. Purposeful Company co-chair Will Hutton argues that through good regulation, water companies like Thames Water can deliver social purpose while remaining in the private sector. “The sunshine of accountability” could ensure that Thames Water gets serious about its environmental responsibilities, invests properly and banishes “opaque ownership structures”, says Hutton.

‍ Lessons from Thames Water. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could enthusiastically defend the record of water privatisation over the last 34 years. As the climate crisis worsens and debt becomes more expensive, reforming the water sector so that investment is put before shareholders has never been more urgent.

Funding the future. Ultimately the question of how necessary future infrastructure upgrades will be financed is the long term challenge facing the sector. Common Wealth argues that if the industry remains in private hands, even with additional stakeholder responsibilities, bills will rise significantly. This is because such capital demands a return, and this return can only be extracted from consumers. In contrast they argue that the public sector can borrow for upgrades at lower rates, making public ownership “a cheaper and more strategic mechanism to fund the water industry’s future”. Voice and value. But who gets a say in the industry’s future is also a vital question. For example newly renationalised water companies could be structured so that consumers, workers and other stakeholders are represented on the board as with the newly remunicipalised Eau de Paris in France (where bills fell by 8%), This would end the domination of shareholder interests, which has arguably led to the current mess in the industry.

Weekly Updates

What is the dividend for Thames Water in 2023?

In the year to 31 March 2023 the total dividend received of £45.2 million (2022: £37.1 million) from TWUL was used to fund an interest payment to Thames Water Limited (‘TWL’), the Company’s immediate parent company, charged in the year.

Does China own UK water?

Bills of at least one in two water customers in England go towards funding Chinese-based corporations, analysis by i shows. Of the nine privatised water and sewage businesses in England, three are wholly or partially owned by China, including the nation’s largest supplier, Thames Water.

China Investment Corporation, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, owns almost 9 per cent of Thames Water, which means the bills paid by its 15 million customers are partly used to help pay dividends and fund debt repayments to the Beijing-based state-controlled investment group. Yorkshire Water’s 5.4 million customers pay even more of their bills to a Chinese conglomerate, as more than half of its parent company Kelda is owned by companies based in the Far East.

Between them, Gateway HK and Wharfedale Hong Kong owner 53.7 per cent of Yorkshire Water, while a further 33.6 per cent is owned by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. The 2.7 million customers of Northumbrian Water pay the largest proportion of their bills to a Chinese company due to it being 100 per cent owned by CK Hutchison Holdings, the £30bn Hong Kong based investment group that is registered offshore in the Cayman Islands tax haven.

Between them, these three water groups serve 23.1 million of England’s 56 million population. The three companies also paid a combined £685.9m on servicing debts of £21.8bn in the last full financial year to the end of March 2022, as well as more than £270m in shareholder dividends between them. All three firms have also been fined in recent years over sewage leaks and are under increasing pressure to raise spending on environmental improvements.

In October 2022, Thames Water was among 11 water companies fined for missing targets and told to give customers millions off their bills. The fines totalled £150m with Thames Water receiving the biggest bill of £51m. At the same time, Northumbrian Water was ordered to pay £20.3m back to customers after missing targets in areas such as water supply interruptions, pollution and internal sewer flooding, where sewage or foul water floods up through toilets sinks or showers inside a building.

  • In the same set of penalties dished out by the industry regulator Ofwat, Yorkshire Water was fined £15.2m for failing to meet the targets on internal sewer flooding pollution incidents and water supply interruptions.
  • The analysis by i focused on the nine English companies.
  • Water and sewage supply in Northern Ireland and Scotland is publicly owned, while in Wales it is run by a non-profit group with no shareholders.

About 90 per cent of the ownership of England’s nine main water companies lies in overseas investors’ hands, with many hailing from tax havens or nations known for human rights abuses. One of the most common investors is0 Lazard, which is based offshore in Bermuda.

Lazard owns almost 16 per cent of South West Water, and also has stakes in Severn Trent Water and United Utilities. The Qatar Investment Authority, the Middle Eastern nation’s sovereign wealth fund, owns 4.6 per cent stake in Severn Trent, along with many other international funds. Australian investment houses are another big player in the English water sector.

Melbourne-based IFM Global Infrastructure Fund and Sydney’s Igneo Infrastructure Partners own 35.4 per cent of Anglian Water between them, while Australia’s Macquarie Asset Management – the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager – controls the majority of Southern Water’s parent company Greensands Holdings.

  1. New York-based BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, is also active in the English water industry, with stakes in Severn Trent and United Utilities.
  2. Wessex Water is 100 per cent owned by YTL Corporation, a Malaysian global infrastructure conglomerate that is publicly traded on the Malaysian and Tokyo stock exchanges.

Adrienne Buller, director of research at left-leaning think tank Common Wealth, said: “Since privatisation, companies from Australia, Qatar and China have become major shareholders of England’s water companies, with the result that large swathes of our water system are owned by and operated in the interests of multinationals and overseas Sovereign Wealth Funds, rather than the UK public.

  1. Clearly, this is a system of ownership and governance beset by failures.
  2. The best route forward is to bring our water system back into public ownership.
  3. That way we can reorganise the industry around meeting people’s needs and protecting our environment, rather than maximising shareholder returns.” A spokeswoman for Thames Water said: “Thames Water is jointly owned by nine institutional investors made up mostly of pension funds, representing key workers, and sovereign wealth funds.

“The two largest investors are pension funds – one based in Canada and one in the UK. “All our investors take a long-term view of the company’s infrastructure, our customers and the natural environment.” A spokesman for Ofwat added: “We do not have any role or view that investors must be domestic only.

Does Thames Water have shareholders?

Shareholder funding update | Newsroom

Shareholder Funding Update 10 July 2023

Monday 10th July 2023 06:00 A man and woman wearing orange high vis walk past a pipe Shareholders agree to provide a further £750 million of equity funding in AMP7, with the acknowledgement that significant additional funding will be required during AMP8 (2025-2030), to further improve operational performance and financial resilience (as summarised in this announcement) In accordance with the commitment made by shareholders in June 2022, Thames Water drew down £500 million of new equity funds on 30 March 2023.

This June 2022 commitment was made by shareholders to support the delivery of Thames Water’s business plan for the current AMP7 regulatory period ending 31 March 2025 to improve performance and outcomes for customers, reduce leakage, improve river health, and accelerate delivery of Thames Water’s turnaround.

This equity funding provided by shareholders has helped reduce gearing to its lowest level in a decade. Since the June 2022 commitment, shareholders have continued to work with the Thames Water Board and Executive on plans to provide additional equity funding to drive Thames Water’s turnaround over the remainder of the current regulatory period (AMP7) and to establish a solid foundation for its long-term growth.

  1. Accordingly, Thames Water’s shareholders have agreed to provide a further £750 million in new equity funding across AMP7.
  2. This further funding is subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, including the preparation of a business plan that underpins a more focused turnaround that delivers targeted performance improvements for customers, the environment and other stakeholders over the next three years and is supported by appropriate regulatory arrangements.

Shareholders have also acknowledged that delivery of the Turnaround Plan will require the provision of further equity support in AMP8, significantly in excess of the current AMP7 commitment. Indicatively, the AMP8 equity support is expected to be in the region of £2.5 billion, but the nature and level of such medium-term support will depend on the finalisation of the business plan and the regulatory framework that will apply to the AMP8 period.

Thames Water will carefully monitor progress towards satisfying the conditions for the additional shareholder funding and will keep under review pathways to ensure Thames Water’s continued financial resilience. In the meantime, Thames Water remains focused on delivering a safe and reliable service to its customers and the environment while work continues on implementing and accelerating the turnaround.

Thames Water continues to maintain a strong liquidity position, including £4.4 billion of cash and committed funding, as at 31 March 2023. Cathryn Ross and Alastair Cochran, Interim Co-CEOs of Thames Water said: “This announcement is a major milestone for Thames and all our stakeholders.

Since June 2022, we have engaged constructively with shareholders, working towards a common goal of developing a long term, comprehensive, financeable and enduring business plan for the Company to improve operational performance and financial resilience for the benefit of our customers and the environment.

The substantial equity support package announced today will underpin the delivery of a more focused turnaround plan that builds on the foundations that have been put in place over the last two years and focuses expenditure on a smaller number of initiatives, which will deliver material and sustainable improvements in key performance metrics over the next three years.” Ian Marchant, Chairman of Thames Water said: “Our shareholders have consistently been very supportive of Thames Water by approving investment in the business over and above regulatory allowances, foregoing any income since 2017 and investing £500 million of new equity funding in March 2023.

How many UK water companies are foreign owned?

More than 70% of England’s water industry owned by foreign companies

  • Almost three quarters of England’s water industry is currently owned from overseas.
  • At least 71% of shares in England’s nine privatised water companies are owned by organisations from overseas including the super-rich, banks, hedge funds, foreign governments and businesses based in tax havens.
  • These revelations show the need to end the scandal of water privatisation – and on the eve of Conservative Party conference Environment Secretary Michael Gove should put water back in public hands.
  • The figures come from a new investigation into company accounts as part of GMB’s,

If Michael Gove is serious about taking back control, he will end the water privatisation rip-off racket and put water back in public hands.

  1. Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary
  2. Earlier this week Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced to Labour Party Conference in Liverpool he would end the profiteering of privatised water and set up a new publicly owned water system that puts control back in the hands of the people.
  3. Some of the leading overseas owners of England’s privatised water companies include:
  • Malaysian company YTL Corporation Berhad which owns all of Wessex Water
  • Cheung Kong Group, a multinational registered in the Cayman Islands run by family of Li Ka Shing (Hong Kong’s richest person). They own 80% of Northumbrian Water.
  • U.S. hedge funds Blackrock, Lazard and Vanguard each own a stake in Severn Trent, United Utilities and South West Water
  • Between Germany’s Deutsche Asset Management and US private equity company Corsair Capital own half of Yorkshire Water
  • 40% of Southern Water is owned by US investment company JP Morgan Asset Management
  • A third of Thames Water is owned by investment fund companies from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, China and Australia
  • Australia’s Colonial First State Global Asset Management owns a stake in Anglian Water, Severn Trent, United Utilities and South West Water

In recent months, GMB investigations into England’s nine privatised water companies have revealed the following:

  • Dividends worth £6.5 billion were paid out to shareholders in the past five years, with £1.4 billion paid out in 2017 alone.
  • 2.4 billion litres of water is wasted through leaks every single day in England.
  • CEOs of the nine privatised water company trousered a whopping £58 million in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the past five years.
  • While shareholders pocketed these eye-watering sums, consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: ” It’s a scandal that the supply of water that falls from England’s skies is in fact now overwhelmingly owned by overseas profiteers. If Michael Gove is serious about taking back control, he will end the water privatisation rip-off racket and put water back in public hands.

  • Every time we turn on the tap big businesses around the globe are making money at our expense.
  • The spivs and speculators must be laughing at us as they make billions in profits while our water bills go up and leakages go unfixed.
  • This is yet another damning example of a failed privatisation experiment.

GMB is campaigning to Take Back the Tap and return England’s water to its rightful owners – the public.” : More than 70% of England’s water industry owned by foreign companies

Asked By: Kevin Lewis Date: created: May 07 2024

Why are UK water companies private

Answered By: Edward Thomas Date: created: May 09 2024

Since privatisation in 1989, water bills have risen 40% and the industry is profitable for shareholders. Yet are households getting benefits? In recent years, we have seen a surge in the discharge of raw sewage, hosepipe bans and a lack of investment.

  • OFWAT, the water regulator recently stated.
  • For some companies, poor performance has become the norm.
  • This cannot go on,” Despite the many problems in the industry, water companies have been able to pay themselves £72bn in dividends since privatisation.
  • A utility once run in the public interest, is now run for the benefit of private companies.

Even the market friendly Financial Times recently stated. “water privatisation looks like little more than an organised rip-off” What is the logic of privatisation, what has gone wrong and can anything be done to fix it? In 1989, the water industry was publically owned and the creaking infrastructure needed significant investment to improve water standards.

  • During the 1980s, the amount the water industry was able to invest was capped at £2 billion a year.
  • But, in the late 1980s European directives on water quality meant the UK would need to significantly improve water infrastructure.
  • Rather than invest public money, Mrs Thatcher sold the whole industry to the private sector.
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The privatisation raised £7.5 billion.

Does the UK send water to other countries?

The firm’s top export markets include Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. UK aid funding has provided more than 40 million people in 30 countries with access to drinking water or a toilet since 2015. The United Nations’ World Water Day (Friday 22 March) reminds us that 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home.

With advice, market research and support from the Department for International Trade (DIT), exports of solar water pumps – mainly to African countries – now account for 52% of Exmoor based SCL Water’s sales. Since 2015, UK aid has funded projects which have given more than 40 million people access to drinking water or a toilet in 30 countries.

  1. Availability and sustainable management of water is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the theme of this year’s World Water Day: Leaving no one behind.
  2. SCL Water was established following the family’s need to drill a borehole to irrigate their Devon farm, and has since grown to four people with another employee expected this year.

DIT advisers helped the company research their market by taking co-owner Steve Kingdon-Saxby on trade missions to Ghana and Uganda, organised exporting workshops and helped SCL establish an online presence through its E-Exporting programme, The family started selling water pumps overseas in 2012, and exports now account for 52% of all sales.

Why did England Privatise water?

This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Water Act which privatised water in England and Wales, selling it to private water and waste water firms for £7.6 billion. The Environment asked supporters and opponents how they rate the sell-off’s outcomes – Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts The water industry in England has been transformed.

  • It’s easy to forget how bad things were.
  • After decades of government underinvestment, water quality was poor, rivers were polluted, and our beaches badly affected by sewage.
  • The water industry was not high on ministers’ list of priorities.
  • Since privatisation, investment of nearly £160 billion has seen strong, steady improvement, giving customers world-class drinking water.

Leakage is down a third since the mid-1990s, two thirds of beaches are classed as excellent, compared with less than a third 25 years ago, and wildlife has returned to rivers biologically dead since the industrial revolution. At around £1 a day, average bills are broadly the same as 20 years ago, taking inflation into account.

According to Ofwat they are around £120 lower than without privatisation and tough, independent regulation. Customer satisfaction for water and sewerage services is around 90 per cent, and there is high trust in water companies. These successes have taken determination. We don’t want things to go backwards – we want to go further.

Individual company five-year business plans submitted last September set out proposals to 2025, summarised for companies in England in Water UK’s Manifesto for Water. Those proposals included £50 billion on improved services and the most ambitious leakage-reduction programme in 20 years, cleaning 8,000 km of rivers and delivering a real-term reduction in bills.

  1. But our ambitions don’t stop there.
  2. In April, water companies in England set out in our Public Interest Commitment how they intend to tackle wider social and environmental challenges.
  3. This set out five challenging longer-term, broader goals to reduce leakage and promote social and environmental progress.

Thirty years is a long time. It’s understandable that people forget what the English water industry was like back then; starved of funding, failing to deliver a good service and damaging the environment. And it’s understandable that people don’t automatically know how much has changed.

That’s why the water industry must point out the last three decades’ successes. Companies have been at the forefront of a remarkable turnaround, achieved within a robust framework overseen by a trio of independent regulators. The alternative – nationalisation – carries great risk, at great cost to water quality, taxpayers and the environment.

We have some big challenges ahead, making sure we can provide enough water to a growing population as our climate is changing. The English water industry is up to meeting these challenges, looking to the future. Privatisation is working for water and will continue to work for many years to come.

Shadow chancellor of the exchequer John McDonnell MP Thirty years ago our water – something we all owned – was sold off. Privatisation has largely enriched private shareholders who have done little to invest in this essential public service. When the water companies were sold off, the government took on their historic debts.

Since, they have accumulated over £45bn of debt that is ultimately the responsibility of billpayers or governments. We were told privatisation could do things more cheaply but water bills rose by 40 per cent in real terms, according to the National Audit Office.

  • We were promised that privatisation would unlock more investment but less was invested in 2018 than in 1990,
  • We were told that nationalised industries wasted money, but one water boss took home £2 million after venting 4.2 billion litres of sewage into rivers – over which his firm eventually paid £20 million in fines.

Over a decade, the nine large English companies have paid out as much in dividends as they have made in profits. All for providing a service in a “market” in which they don’t compete for customers, when fines for non-compliance with drinking-water quality standards have exceeded £1.5 million over the last five years, and where we lose enough water for 20 million people to leaks every day.

It’s hardly surprising that support for public ownership of water, at 83 per cent, is higher than for any other utility. Labour has laid out plans for what that public ownership will look like; regional water authorities whose boards comprise local-government representatives, employee representatives and representatives of community, consumer and environmental bodies.

The real expertise sits with the workers who ensure our water arrives reliably and cleanly into our homes. We want those real experts at the heart of making sure we have environmentally sustainable, safe and affordable water. Thirty years on from the Conservatives’ historic mistake we can’t wait for the chance to reverse it.

Conservative peer, Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Britain had the reputation in the 1980s of being the dirty man of Europe because of pollution of our bathing waters and rivers and poor-quality drinking water. Then came Margaret Thatcher’s groundbreaking speech on the environment in 1988 and privatisation of the water companies in 1989.

Private water and wastewater companies have enabled unprecedented spending and cleaning our beaches and rivers to reach record quality levels. Investment through privatisation reduced pollution and delivered, in a remarkably short time, cleaner, better quality waters.

  • Access to private capital markets and the ability to borrow transformed how the water sector delivered services through a restructure of the industry and regulated oversight.
  • Investment almost doubled yet customer bills were lower.
  • Water quality has improved, pollution is down and leakage came down by a third.

Relying on the tax payer for investment would not have enabled these spending commitments, due to demands on the public purse. The challenge now is how to continue with environmental improvements and deliver a safe, sustainable and affordable water supply, given mass house building programmes.

  1. Water companies are addressing bad debt, water poverty and leakage.
  2. Water companies undertake environmental work and create renewable sources of energy.
  3. They work with drainage boards, the Environment Agency, local councils and the government to deliver environmental projects such as flood prevention and a functional catchment-management system.

Water stress is an increasing challenge, yet water companies must automatically connect clean water into new housing developments and take waste water away. The automatic right to connect should cease and water companies become statutory consultees on major housing developments.

We need greater use of sustainable drains in such developments to prevent the horrors of combined sewer overflow. Private companies will continue to deliver though innovation in the regular price reviews in a regulated market. Water companies in the private sector are uniquely placed to tackle the effects of climate change through innovative measures to improve resilience to floods, to reduce water stress and to mitigate and adapt to extreme weather.

This could form the basis of an environmental and social contract with the consumer in the years ahead. Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley Thirty years of privatised water has had one major impact – transferring the benefits of improvements from millions of consumers to a handful of shareholders.

  • We’ve seen improvements in water infrastructure – albeit funded by private-sector debt.
  • However consumers have not seen the benefits of these improvements.
  • Since privatisation water bills have increased by 40 per cent.
  • In contrast shareholders in the privatised water companies received an impressive yield.

Over the past decade, water and sewerage companies have paid more than £1.8 billion a year in dividends. The profit tunnel-vision of the privatised water industry has also pushed environmental conservation down the list of water-management objectives.2017 was a record year for Environmental Agency penalties against water companies, with fines for environmental offences totalling £21 million.

  1. This shift – from water as a public good to be nurtured to private commodity to sell – becomes evident when we scrutinise individual water companies.
  2. Thames Water – which supplies more than 15 million people – has not paid UK corporation tax for ten years.
  3. Instead of tax receipts, it has clocked up an impressive score sheet of public misconduct, from dumping 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage into the Thames, to a formal warning from Ofwat for shortcomings in data handling, on a scale that customers – says Ofwat – “cannot be sure that information presented by Thames Water is complete and accurate”.

With records like this, it is perhaps no surprise that recent polls show that 83 per cent of British people favour renationalisation of all water services. Water privatisation has turned a natural resource, held in common by all, into a money-making machine for the few.

This betrayal of the concept of environmental stewardship is privatisation’s primary achievement – and the legacy of the Water Act 1989. CIWEM past-president Professor Chris Binnie I was involved in the company asset-management plans for floatation. For the decade before privatisation in 1989, the Treasury controlled investment in the public water authorities to less than £2 billion/year, so there was little improvement.

However the UK was becoming subject to European directives, including the 1998 Drinking Water Directive and the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, compliance with which would be mandatory. Drinking water measured at the tap has improved from 99 percent passing to 99.96 per cent.

  1. Properties at risk of low pressure have fallen from 2 per cent to 0.001 per cent.
  2. Properties subject to unplanned supply interruptions of 12 hours or more have dropped from 0.4 per cent to 0.003 per cent.
  3. But although leakage dropped from 4,980ml/d to 3,306ml/d in 2000, it reduced only to 3,183ml/d last year.

Thames Water alone lost 695ml/d, some 20 per cent of the industry total. Customers considered 25 per cent leakage excessive and wasteful; it puts them off reducing their water use. Trade body Water UK has accepted the National Infrastructure Commission’s challenge to reduce leakage by 15 per cent by 2025 and halve it by 2050.

  • Since privatisation there has been emphasis on demand management, making water-using appliances more water efficient.
  • Household meter penetration has increased from zero to 55 per cent and most companies plan 80 per cent by 2040.
  • Per capita consumption has fallen from 155 l/h/d to 141 l/h/d now.
  • And so, although the population is increasing, the water into supply has decreased.

Household properties at risk of internal sewer flooding reduced from 32,000 to 3,000 in 2010 and remain at that level. Historically, foul water discharged to sea had little treatment and London’s STWs dumped most sludge into the North Sea. Now the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive decrees treatments for discharges.

Non-compliance with the Bathing Water Directive has dropped from 16 per cent to about 1 per cent. Household consumers are now designated as customers. Failures to respond within 10 working days to written complaints have dropped from nearly a third to 0.4 per cent failure within five working days. To achieve these improvements, public-sector annual expenditure of less than £2 billion has increased, under privatisation, to £160 billion over 30 years – more than £5 billion a year.

The number of water companies has reduced from 36 to 15. Many are owned by foreign investors, some with opaque ownership. Some companies have had a high level of dividend dispersal, sometimes declaring dividends in excess of earned profit. Recently, Water UK, has announced the Water Industry Public Interest Commitment.

This goes beyond regulatory compliance to demonstrate long-term stewardship of the environment, tripling the rate of leakage reduction, and achieving net zero carbon by 2030. Privatisation has created a water industry that performs to much higher standards and, on most aspects, has a high reputation from its customers.

It should be proud of those achievements. Visiting professor at University of Greenwich Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) David Hall Privatisation of water was deeply unpopular and remains so. In July 1989, as the private companies took over, a poll showed 79 per cent of people opposed.

In 2017, after more than a quarter of a century’s experience, 83 per cent wanted water returned to public ownership. The economic rationale offered for privatisation was that private companies would finance the investments required by EU standards without the burden of public borrowing, bringing their own money and greater efficiency into the system.

But after 25 years, water prices had risen by 40 per cent above the general rate of inflation, and the amount of shareholder money in the companies has reduced in real terms. Despite acquiring the companies debt-free, the owners have accumulated debt of more than £50 billion, effectively used to finance dividends of over £50 billion.

  1. The annual cost of these dividends and interest on the debt is £2.3 billion a year more expensive than it would be under public ownership.
  2. The companies’ performance has been equally poor.
  3. Sewage flooding remains a major problem, with repeated problems and fines.
  4. Thames Water has been a repeat offender, but the new super sewer being constructed to deal with the problem is another economic problem.

As Thames refused to finance it by itself, the super sewer is financed by government loans and by an extra charge on consumers even before it is finished. There is underinvestment in water-resource management, with too-easy recourse to hosepipe bans, while water leakage runs at 3.1 billion litres per day – between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of water produced.

The system also lacks effective public accountability. Southern Water is being investigated for breaching its statutory duties by Ofwat, the Environment Agency, and reportedly could face a Serious Fraud Office investigation. But the ineffectiveness of Ofwat is another failed aspect of the system. Companies have been able to repeatedly game the price-regulation formulae to boost profits and extract dividends without critical scrutiny.

They rely on Ofwat to act publicly as their defender – rather than a protector of consumer rights. The privatised water system is leaking sewage, water and money. The Labour Party policy to bring it back into public ownership is massively popular and would bring England and Wales back into line with the rest of the world, including Scotland.

  • The law on compensation means that could cost £14.5 billion, according to Moody’s; the savings of £2 billion per year would provide a very good public return.
  • SumOfUs campaign manager Sondhya Gupta SumOfUs aims to hold corporations accountable for their actions, to forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.

Water in England and Wales was privatised during the aggressive phase of core utility and public sector sell-offs following Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 election victory that stopped just short of the NHS. This wave of for-profit restructuring ceased to consider water a public health necessity – a basic human right provided on the basis of social equity – and became a commodity.

So what has water privatisation achieved? In short, an increase in inequality, harm to the most vulnerable in our society and a shortage of our planet’s most vital resource. According to the National Audit Office, water bills have increased 40 per cent above inflation since 1989. To add insult to injury for those struggling to pay household bills, since 2010, shareholders have enjoyed dividends soaring upwards of £13.5 billion,

That’s almost the amount the companies raked in in pre-tax profits. Around the time of Thatcher’s mass privatisations, we heard the first warnings of global warming, Thirty years on, we are in a climate crisis that, at best, private companies are ill-equipped to tackle.

At worst, they are its main driver. Rising demand from a growing population and declining supply, due to increasing droughts, are putting our water supply under ever greater strain. But facing this looming crisis, the corporations granted stewardship over our precious resource have one priority – maximising profit.

The drive to satisfy the short-term demands of shareholders mean the water companies carelessly waste water, refusing to plug 3 billion litres of leaks, England is on course to run short of water in 25 years, Corporations that often think only in the short-term about protecting their profits over conserving our natural resources are not well placed to act to avert this catastrophe.

Asked By: Logan Powell Date: created: Nov 08 2023

How many UK water companies are owned by foreign companies

Answered By: Gregory Young Date: created: Nov 09 2023

Over 70 per cent water industry in England is owned by foreign investment firms and businesses lodged in tax havens, a report said on Thursday. The report revealed at least 72 per cent of the industry is controlled by firms in 17 countries, while UK firms own 10 per cent.

By country, the US-based investment firms own nearly 17 per cent of overall English waters. Canadian and Australian companies are the second and third biggest overall investors in English water, The Guardian report said. The report comes after calls by British politicians for the water industry to be held to account for sewage dumping, leaks and water shortages.

A total of six water companies are suspected of illegal activities and are under investigation. The British government ordered companies to spend £56bn over 25 years to reduce the scale of raw sewage discharges into waterways from storm overflows, following which, pressures continue to rise on water industry to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure to treat sewage and prevent water shortages.

  1. However, according to the storm overflow plan released by the government, the British public will pay on average £42 a year to foot the bill for reducing sewage discharges.
  2. But some customers will pay much more by up to three times because their companies have the biggest investment programmes to tackle storm overflows, according to the government.

The policy of water privatisation in England and Wales remains implemented since 1989. It refers to the transfer of the provision of water and wastewater services in England and Wales from the state to the private sector, through the sale of the 10 regional water authorities (RWA).

Asked By: Harry Parker Date: created: Apr 20 2023

Where does Thames Water get their water from

Answered By: Jacob Collins Date: created: Apr 22 2023

River flows – River flows reflect groundwater levels and rainfall. Rain flows off the land and into the rivers, while groundwater can well up from below. Much of the water we supply comes from rivers in our region, including the Thames, Lee, Kennet, Wey and Tillingbourne.

When using these rivers, we need to make sure we balance environmental and necessary navigational needs with the needs of our water supply. We do this through agreements with the Environment Agency. In London, the Teddington Target Flow is particularly important. This is the minimum River Thames flow over the Teddington weir required to balance these needs.

Controls like this vary depending on the time of year and the amount of water stored in our reservoirs. They’re always agreed with the Environment Agency.

Why was Thames Water Privatised?

In charts: how privatisation drained Thames Water’s coffers

In a little over three decades, Thames, the biggest water and sewerage company in England, serving 15 million people, has transformed from a debt-free public utility into what critics argue is a privately owned investment vehicle carrying the highest debt in the industry.Over those years – as admitted by Sarah Bentley, the firm’s departing CEO – its executives and the shareholders and private equity companies who own it have presided over decades of underinvestment, aggressive cost-cutting and huge dividend payments.The symptom of these decades can be seen in the scale of sewage discharges, the record leaks from its pipes and the state of its treatment plants – which are now at the centre of a criminal investigation by the Environment Agency into illegal sewage dumping and a regulatory inquiry by Ofwat.

Analysis of the accounts of Thames Water between 1990 and 2022 reveal a story that is echoed to some degree across the industry. The figures show how privatisation – which was intended to lead to a new era of investment, improved water quality and low bills – turned water into a cash cow for investment firms and private equity companies, none more so than the Australian infrastructure asset management firm Macquarie which, with its co-investors, bought Thames Water in 2006 from the German utility firm RWE for £4.8bn.

  1. By the time Macquarie sold its stake in Thames Water in 2017, debts had more than tripled from £3.2bn to £10.5bn, unadjusted for inflation.
  2. Its pattern was to borrow against its assets to increase dividend payments to shareholders.
  3. By 2017, when Macquarie sold its last stake, the pattern of debt remained, and the rate of accruing debt continued on the same trajectory.

Macquarie and its co-investors made their position clear from the start, hiking dividends in the first year of their operations, 2007, to £656m when profits were a fraction of that at £241m. Over their 11 years of control, Macquarie and its co-investors paid out £2.8bn to shareholders, which is two-fifths of the total £7bn in dividends that Thames Water has paid between 1990 and 2022.

The average yearly dividends paid during the Macquarie period were five times higher than those paid after it sold its final stake in 2017. The consortium that took over ownership of Thames Water in 2017 has not taken a dividend since, but the company has paid internal dividends – including £37m in the year to 31 March 2022.

But Thames Water’s debt now amounts to £14.3bn – almost a quarter of the total £60bn debt run up by the privatised water companies in just over three decades. This weight of debt is at one of the highest levels in the industry, with Thames Water’s gearing at 80%.

More than half of this debt is inflation-linked, leaving Thames facing hikes on its debt repayment, even as it is being told to invest billions more fixing the infrastructure which has been left to crumble. This article was amended on 1 July 2023 to temporarily remove the graphic on “gearing” pending a review of the figure shown for Severn Trent.

A previous version mistakenly said Severn Trent’s gearing was 83.7% at March 2022, when the correct figure was 59.2%. However, the revised graphic, published on 3 July, now uses the latest figures for each company – based on their own financial reports – rather than March 2022 data.

How is Thames Water funded?

We’re here to provide clean, fresh drinking water and recycle their waste. Our revenue comes from the bills we send our customers for the essential water and wastewater services we provide.