SE Water bought by Australian investors

The Australian investment bank Macquarie said yesterday it had acquired South East Water for £386m from the French group Bouygues. Macquarie and Bouygues are joint venture partners in a number of projects around the world and this relationship had helped "to complete this transaction in a short timeframe", the managing director, Jim Craig, said.

After the necessary regulatory processes, South East Water will be transferred from Macquarie Bank to the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund.

The bank said the move was "a major step in the establishment of a new wholesale vehicle" that will aim to invest further in infrastructure and related assets within Europe. Jim Craig, the managing director of the new fund, said that "infrastructure offers attractive long-term investment features".

Margaret Devlin, the managing director of South East Water, praised Macquaries's "understanding of businesses such as South East Water" and welcomed its "long-term commitment to essential infrastructure assets".

Macquarie said its new fund would be established once it had "finalised commitments from equity investors" and said the first close of the fund would probably occur "within six to nine months".

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