Wessex Water 'to be sold'

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Wessex Water, the water and sewage company, is understood to be up for sale following an offer to take over its owner, Enron, by Dynegy, the US energy group.

Three years ago, Enron spent £1.4bn on Wessex Water. But Dynegy is understood to want to concentrate on US and European energy assets and is not interested in non-core assets.

Any hope to regain the same amount of money could be derailed as the industry is put off by regulatory problems, and the company's results have worsened due to imposed price cuts over the past year.

"It is not that there is going to be a fire sale but most of [the international assets] are not core to the businesses we will continue to pursue," said an Enron spokesperson. "At the right price we will sell."

Scottish & Southern Energy and United Utilities have been touted as potential buyers, yet industry insiders believe that the UK regulator, Ofwat, will take a dim view of bids by UK water companies, as they are too large to buy it.