Wednesday 21 August 2019

NI Water seals £100m production deal

Stock picture
Stock picture

Emma Deighan

NI Water has gained complete ownership of all clean water production after buying Kelda Water Services' (KWS) holdings in four plants for over £100m (€111m).

Yorkshire Water owner KWS has produced nearly 50pc of the North's drinking water supply since 2006 and across four treatment points in Antrim, Coleraine, Craigavon and Magherafelt. NI Water said it had acquired the stake after Kelda put its non-regulated businesses up for sale.

This included the Project Alpha public private partnership (PPP) in Northern Ireland, which was set up by NI Water and Kelda to help attain EU drinking water quality standards.

The sale, which saw NI Water pay KWS £28m and acquire around £80m debt, was supported by the British Department of Infrastructure and the Department of Finance.

The deal is tipped to create savings for some 80,000 non-domestic customers of NI Water.

"The value generated by this transaction will allow the company to apply a downwards pressure on tariffs," said NI Water CEO Sara Venning. "It also represents an opportunity for NI Water to reduce its ongoing running costs which releases public expenditure for reinvestment elsewhere."

NI Water chairman Len O'Hagan said: "This brings back into NI Water ownership all clean water production in Northern Ireland."

Economist John Simpson said the buyout has saved NI Water in the long-run. "As with public private partnerships, the real value of the contract was to get the investment when it was needed and before it could be financed directly by NI Water. Now NI Water will have saved significant sums by bringing the assets into NI Water."

The transaction will see NI Water add approximately 30 KWS staff to its workforce.

Irish Independent

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