Anglian takes legal action in Brazil

Water company runs into problems with pounds 30m joint venture to build sewerage treatment plants

Anglian Water, one of Britain's largest privatised water companies, is taking legal action in Brazil after running into problems on a high-profile joint venture involving its international arm. A company employee based in Brazil has returned to Britain and is understood to be on "gardening leave".

The embarrassing disclosure casts doubt on the company's rush to cash in on the $40bn privatisation of the Brazilian water industry.

The venture Anglian is involved in is a pounds 30m project to build water treatment plants in the south of Brazil.

According to reports circulating in the industry, Anglian paid up to pounds 12m into the bank account of an individual in Brazil and is now trying to recover the money.

A spokesman for Anglian said the group was "not aware" of any cash disappearing, but confirmed it was taking legal action in Brazil.

He said it involved a joint venture with a small civil engineering company, Cejen, in which Anglian's subsidiary, Anglian Water International (AWI), had invested pounds 10m to take a near 40 per cent stake.

The spokesman added: "There were some legal discrepancies but they are currently being resolved by our legal advisers."

He refused to discuss the precise nature of the action, or whether it involved company funds.

The Anglian employee who was working in Brazil, Peter Cashen, refused to comment when contacted at his Northamptonshire home, saying: "I am bound by confidentiality agreements. You will have to talk to Anglian."

The spokesman also declined to comment on Mr Cashen's role. "We don't discuss individual employees as a matter of company policy."

There is no suggestion that Mr Cashen or Cejen were involved in the disappearance of any money.

The Cejen partnership was singled out in Anglian's last annual report as an example of its Brazilian ambitions. However, one senior water industry figure in Brazil said there were rumours that the partnership with Cejen had ended and that the official opening ceremony of the treatment works had been postponed. It proved impossible to contact Cejen at its offices in the city of Curitiba, in the southern state of Santa Catarina.

The company spokesman denied that the venture itself had become bogged down.

"We have invested pounds 10m in a sewerage treatment plant. It's been built and we are now getting revenue from the treatment works. It is up and running."

Anglian also denied that another exploratory joint-venture in Rio de Janeiro had been dissolved. AWI formed a company called Brazilian Water Works to bid for a pounds 300m privatisation contract to provide water and sewerage services to one of the city's richest areas.

This company is unconnected with project which is the subject of the legal action.

The partnership was with a Singaporean civil engineering company, IPCO, which was represented in Brazil by an independent consultant called Milton Mederos.

Speaking at his Miami home, Mr Mederos said he was no longer involved in the venture. Brazilian Water Works' rented office in Rio has also closed.

Anglian's spokesman insisted: "The Brazilian Water Works company is still in existence."

Brazil has proved problematic for other UK water companies. Yorkshire Water has pulled out of a joint venture in Rio with a US construction group, though in a further twist its former partner is still using the Yorkshire name.

In addition, North West Water, part of United Utilities, is thought to be unlikely to press ahead with a planned venture in Rio, according to Brazilian experts. North West's representative in Brazil said no firm decisions had been taken.

Anglian created AWI in the stampede for overseas business after privatisation.

Losses for AWI are not separately disclosed, though documents filed with Companies House show that in the year to the end of March 1996 it lost pounds 3.8m, up from pounds 3.4m the year before, on turnover of just pounds 323,986.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star