Chinese in £300m bid for local water company

Residents’ water supply in the south of the borough may soon be provided by the Chinese.

sutton-east-surrey-water-logoCity AM reports this morning that Sutton & East Surrey Water company may be snapped up by the Beijing Water Authority.

Sutton & East Surrey Water is up for sale after the current London-based private equity player ICON Infrastructure decided to auction off the asset.

The Beijing government’s stated policy for foreign investment, using up the vast amounts of cash which the rapidly growing Chinese economy, has been to buy interests in primary resources around the world. This has included massive spending on mining and precious metals in Australia and Africa, but now seems to be turning attention to a water supply in suburban England.

The value of such an investment is illustrated by the increase in value of the water company. In 2005, Deutsche Bank paid £189million for the utility, which serves about 280,000 properties. Just eight years on and a £300 million price tag has been stuck on Sutton & East Surrey Water. And despite the apparent limitless supply of S&ESW’s principle product, demand for water appears ever-growing.

HSBC is advising the Beijing Water Authority.

Sutton & East Surrey Water supplies water to Croydon homes that fell under the old pre-1964 Coulsdon and Purley district council.

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