Advisers to Northumbrian float net £47m

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The Independent Online

The return of Northumbrian Water to the stock market yesterday cost £47m in advisory fees.

The main beneficiaries were the broker Collins Stewart, which sponsored its listing on AIM, and Deutsche Bank, which underwrote the debt used to buy Northumbrian from Suez of France in advance of its relisting.

Northumbrian shares made a strong debut, closing 9.5 per cent up on their opening price of 100p, valuing the company at £565m.

The flotation ends Northumbrian's eight-year absence from the market and reverses a trend that has seen a string of utility companies taken into private hands.

John Cuthbert, Northumbrian's managing director, said the intention was to seek a listing on the main London market in the next three to six months. Mr Cuthbert will be paid £221,500 a year while Northumbrian's finance director, Chris Green, will earn £113,750. Sir Frederick Holliday, Northumbrian's non-executive chairman, will be paid an annual fee of £125,000.

Mr Cuthbert and Mr Green are also likely to qualify for bonus payments and long-term incentive shares although the details have not yet been worked out. Northumbrian's remuneration committee will hold its first meeting next week.

The sale of Northumbrian by Suez last weekend valued the company at £2.2bn including debt. The French company has retained a 25 per cent stake. The shares in circulation represent a further 23 per cent of Northumbrian by value. The company has operations in the North-east of England, Essex and Suffolk and supplies water to 4.3 million people and sewerage services to 2.6 million.