Northumbrian seeks bid clarity
Thursday 17 August 1995
Northumbrian Water has complained to the Takeover Panel over the proposed bid for the company by Lyonnaise des Eaux of France, seeking clarification of the predator's plans.
The company alleges that reports in the press suggest Lyonnaise will withdraw if the regulator, Ofwat, holds out for price cuts of up to 20 per cent.
A source in the company said: "If they intend to withdraw if the regulator changes his view then they need to make that clear. That is the impression which has been in the press and we would like some statement. The Panel have heard our side."
Lyonnaise, due to meet the regulator this week, declined to comment. A spokesman for the Takeover Panel also said he could not confirm or deny any approach by the UK water firm.
Lyonnaise, which announced its intention to bid in February, has already angered Northumbrian by refusing to put a price on the bid. Northumbrian's shares rose 5p yesterday to 910p but failed to make up falls earlier in the week on speculation that Lyonnaise might abandon its plans.
Northumbrian has attacked the French group's overtures as "unwelcome and unsolicited", and has criticised Lyonnaise for plunging shareholders and customers into months of uncertainty.
The meetings this week with Ofwat are the first stage in hammering out the conditions under which any takeover would be allowed. The Government has asked Ian Byatt, director general of Ofwat, to set the criteria following an investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, which concluded that the takeover would be against the public interest.
Mr Byatt is fundamentally opposed to takeovers in the industry on the grounds that they reduce the number of companies and hamper his ability to make comparisons. Lyonnaise already owns North East Water and plans to merge it with neighbouring Northumbrian.
Mr Byatt told the MMC that cuts in water bills of between 15 and 20 per cent would be required over the next four years to outweigh the disadvantages of a takeover. He argues the cuts would force the merged company to the leading edge in efficiency, creating an "exemplary comparator" which would set new industry standards.
Lyonnaise has made it clear it will not bid at any price, warning that customers would be the losers if it decides to walk away. But a spokeswoman for Ofwat said this week that Mr Byatt "usually sticks to his guns".
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...