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Western Power puts in rival bid for Hyder

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WELSH MULTI-UTILITY Hyder this week faced a rival takeover bid from US power supplier Western Power & Distribution.

The new bid was expected to outstrip the £2.60 a share deal agreed last week with Japanese investment bank Nomura, valuing the business at £402M. The bid suggests putting the Dwy Cymru/Welsh Water assets into a not for profit vehicle to be run by WPD subsidiary United Utilities. Day to day operation of the water business would be with WPD. The fate of Hyder Consulting has not yet been discussed, said a spokesman.

Hyder owns the former Welsh Water and SWALEC utilities in Wales along with many other non-regulated businesses including Hyder Consulting. It ran into financial trouble, racking up debts of £1.9bn, following thepurchase of SWALEC, the Government's windfall tax and pressure from the Regulator to cut bills and increase investment. Its current investment plan sees £1.2bn being spent over the next five years.

A spokesman for Hyder confirmed that the board had received the bid from WPD but said it was awaiting further details before it could make a response. He added that for the consulting business the latest bid did not alter last week's 'business as usual' situation.

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