Southern shareholder looks for exit

The French owner of 25% of water and sewerage group Southern Water has set about seeking a buyer for its stake, it was reported today.

Veolia Environnement has hired an investment bank to find a buyer for its shares in the firm which supplies one million households in south-east England with drinking water, the Financial Times said.

Southern, which has assets valued at £2.3bn (€3.34bn) and treats and recycles dirty water in almost two million homes across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, is controlled by First Aqua which bought it four years ago from Scottish Power.

Veolia’s planned disposal follows withdrawals from the UK water sector by its French rivals Suez and Bouygues.

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