Bechtel eyes up Anglian Water's overseas arm

Anglian Water could be about to face a bid by Bechtel, the privately owned US civil engineering giant, to buy the utility's loss-making international businesses. As Chris Godsmark, Business Correspondent, reports, Bechtel's interest could see Anglian become the latest privatised water company to abandon its overseas expansion plans.

According to industry sources, Bechtel has been investigating Anglian's non-regulated operations, which range from stakes in a Czech water and sewerage company to concessions to operate services in Buenos Aires. Sources close to Bechtel confirmed that Anglian was one of a number of possible opportunities being considered.

A spokesman said Bechtel was not conducting a due-diligence inquiry into Anglian's non-regulated businesses, called Anglian Water International. "If by due diligence you mean going through their books, then we are not doing a due diligence investigation into Anglian."

Anglian Water yesterday declined to comment on what it described as "speculation", though the company is not yet thought to have received an approach from Bechtel. However, it has been interested in selling its process engineering arm, Purac, and Fluid Systems, a US based business involved with the building of desalination plants.

Anglian's attempts to use its expertise to win lucrative overseas business have met with mixed success. Despite attempts to turn the division around, Anglian's non-regulated operations have remained consistently loss-making.

In the year to the end of March losses at Anglian Water International edged up from pounds 5.7m to pounds 6.1m, while turnover rose by pounds 23m, to pounds 154.7m. Anglian blamed the losses on the cost of winning new business overseas. Marketing and development costs doubled over the year, to pounds 6.3m.

The company received a humiliating setback last year with a joint venture to build a waste water treatment works in the south of Brazil. Anglian admitted it was suing its partner, a smaller construction company called Cejen.

In May Anglian wrote off pounds 20m to cover a restructuring programme, of which more than pounds 7m was to cover the ill-fated Brazilian venture. The write-offs represented about 60 per cent of the pounds 12m Anglian had pumped into the project. At the time, Chris Mellor, then Anglian finance director who has since been appointed group managing director, admitted it was "not an episode we are proud of".

Bechtel has expanded its interests in water projects and since 1995 has been responsible for the running of North West Water's infrastructure investment programme. The joint venture with North West Water, part of United Utilities, also involves bidding for overseas privatisation projects.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor