London, UK-based City AM reports, “Shares in United Utilities soared by as much as 18 per cent (given) rumours (that) several buyers are circling around the UK water company as a possible break-up target, including an international infrastructure consortium of the Ontario Teachers pension fund, Qatari and Abu Dhabi funds, who are thought to be considering a possible £6.1bn offer.”
United Utilities Group PLC is the United Kingdom’s largest listed water company and manages the water and waste water network in North West England, including Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside with a combined population of near 7 million.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan already owns 27 per cent of Northumbrian Water Group Plc, which sells its water services to about 4.4 million ‘customers’ in England. Last year it posted a pre-tax profit of $297 million up from a profit of $272 million the year before.
In February 2012 UK-based journalist Neil Clark wrote in the Guardian UK, “Bringing water back into public ownership in England – which could be done by the government simply nationalising the existing companies and establishing a new publicly owned body named ‘English Water’, would not only lead to lower prices, but would be a move of great significance. …Water, which falls out of the sky for free and which everyone needs, was obscenely commodified by the Thatcherites. You don’t even have to be a Marxist to agree that there is something fundamentally wrong about water being sold off in order for global conglomerates to make even more profits from hard-pressed ordinary people. Action to end England’s great water rip-off urgently needs to be taken.”
For more on the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan in England and increasing ‘water poverty’ in that country, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13343.
The Council of Canadians has also been campaigning against the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan’s ownership of Chilean water utilities, http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22ontario+teachers%22+%2B+%22chile%22.