Water industry insiders this week welcomed the £8bn acquisition of Thames Water by a consortium led by Australian investment group Macquarie Bank.
Kemble Water has paid £4.8bn for the water company, which was valued by regulator Ofwat at £6bn, and has taken on £3.2bn of debt, making the deal worth £8bn for the former owner German company RWE.Experts welcomed the experience that Macquarie would bring as owner. It runs airports and roads worldwide, including the M6 toll. Until recently it was owner of South East Water, which it sold to fellow Australian group Westpac for £665M earlier this year.But insiders warned that Ofwat must ensure that Thames Water's investment plans are ring-fenced. 'The way the regulator thinks is going to be critical - clearly it must put in place additional ring-fencing of funds,' an insider said.Macquarie beat off competition from other bidders - including Australian group Alinta and the Qatar Investment Authority - with the help of departing chief executive of contractor Amec Sir Peter Mason who is now expected to be handed a role at Macquarie.