French firm sells three UK water businesses

French utilities group Veolia Environnement is selling its three UK water businesses, it announced today. The sale falls in line with the waste and water firm’s strategy to cut down […]

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By Vicky Ellis

French utilities group Veolia Environnement is selling its three UK water businesses, it announced today.

The sale falls in line with the waste and water firm’s strategy to cut down its debt, after discovering accounting fraud in its US branch from between 2007 and 2010 at the end of last year.

Rift Acquisitions Limited, a fund managed by Prudential’s investment fund M&G and Morgan Stanley, will pick up Veolia Water Central, East and Southeast for £1.2 billion. Veolia will keep a 10% share of the businesses.

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

The group has retained its Veolia Water Outsourcing business in the UK. It says it still sees the UK water sector as a “strategically important market”.