Aggressive expansion into non-regulated infrastructure activities is a prime characteristic of the group of companies which promotes itself strongly as Hyder, with Dwr Cymru or Welsh Water as a subtext.
Hyder's overall turnover last year was a whopping £1,294M of which water and sewerage for its 1M local customers involved some £456M.
Capital investment of £280M in 1998-99 has made a big impact all around the Welsh coastline with new sewage treatment plants coming on stream from Llandudno to Cardiff West. Cardiff East and Newport are the only remaining major works to be completed in the company's £1.25bn AMP 2 five year investment programme to March 2000.
That money comes on top of £1bn spent on capital projects in the first five years after privatisation.
Joint supply of electricity as well as gas was pioneered by Hyder with its acquisition of SWALEC, but the company has stepped back to a degree with the sale of the marketing side of the electricity business. Now it maintains the supply infrastructure and leaves others at British Energy to buy electricity and retail it to customers.
Some £345M has been spent upgrading water infrastructure since privatisation. But supply problems such as leakage and the possibility of drought are, understandably, not very high on the agenda of the company which reckons to use less than 2% of the copious amounts of rain that fall on Wales.
Water is exported in large quantities to the Midlands from the old Elan Valley chain of dams 'virtually at cost' says group utilities director Mike Brooker with a sigh. 'It was part of the original set-up for water privatisation.'
Non-regulated activity includes the huge Hyder Consulting arm which was boosted by the acquisition of consultant Acer. After several rationalisations it remains a major part of the group with some 3,000 staff working all round the world.
The group holds substantial stakes in green power, waste disposal, industrial effluent and facilities management together with privately financed road and rail projects.