Nomura lines up Kinski to run Hyder

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The Independent Online

Mike Kinski, the former chief of UK transport operator Stagecoach, has been lined up to become chief executive of troubled Welsh multi-utility Hyder, if the £400m offer from Nomura goes through.

Mr Kinski left Stagecoach in a surprise move in February, after spending the last two years developing the organisation and integration plans for Coach USA, bought last June for $1.24m. Hyder announced on Friday that it is in talks that could lead to an offer.

Mr Kinski acquired a reputation as a tough manager at Scottish Power, where he oversaw a cost-cutting programme. He is also known for his ability to integrate new acquisitions. It is understood he has been drafted in by Nomura's principal finance group, which is leading the bidding for Hyder.

Hyder's board is due to meet today to discuss the Nomura offer and rival proposals for the sale of parts of the multi-utility. Hyder has been struggling due to the tough regime imposed by the water and electricity regulators.

Nomura's interest faces political obstacles. Two years ago it tried to buy Eastern Electricity, but senior government members expressed concern about a financial player owning a utility company. The Welsh Assembly may also express disquiet about the potential job losses at Hyder, which is Wales's largest private-sector employer.

Nomura has made a string of high profile acquisitions in recent years. Its deals include Thorn Rental and the Unique Pub company, as well as 57,000 Ministry of Defence homes.

Analysts have warned that Nomura may be the only serious bidder for the whole of Hyder, which has debts of £1.9bn. They say it will be easier for its financial problems to be sorted out without having to worry about the interests of equity shareholders.