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Britain’s biggest water supplier wins financial rescue

LONDON (AFP) – Thames Water yesterday announced a significant financial injection from shareholders that keeps Britain’s biggest supplier of the commodity afloat.

The company, reported to have been at risk of renationalisation ahead of the latest news, said shareholders agreed to provide further funding worth GBP750 million.

However, it falls short of the GBP1 billion it sought on top of GBP500 million secured from shareholders in March.

Thames Water yesterday also noted that it would need a further GPB2.5 billion of support between 2025 and 2030.

“The additional investment announced today is the largest equity support package ever seen in the UK water sector and underscores our shareholders’ commitment to delivering Thames’ turnaround,” added its chairman Ian Marchant.


Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal is its biggest shareholder with almost one-third of the group.

Thames Water, which supplies 15 million homes and businesses in London and elsewhere in southern England, has debts of almost GBP14 billion.

Sarah Bentley resigned as chief executive last month. The utility has yet to appoint a permanent replacement. Adding to its woes, a United Kingdom (UK) court last week fined Thames Water GBP3.3 million for polluting rivers.

It had pleaded guilty to pumping millions of litres of undiluted sewage into rivers near London’s Gatwick Airport in 2017, killing wildlife.

Britain’s privatised water companies recently pledged to make massive investments to stop raw sewage being pumped into waterways.

Reports said water bills could surge 40 per cent by 2030 to fund the works amid mounting concerns over water quality and laxer environmental protections post Brexit.