Highstar closes tap on water utility

The infrastructure fund manager unloaded Utilities, Inc., a water and wastewater service in North America to Corix, an infrastructure outfit partly owned by British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

Highstar Capital has exited its investment in Utilities, Inc., a water and wastewater company the infrastructure fund manager bought in April 2006.

The fund manager, which is headquartered in New York, sold off its stake in Utilities, Inc., to Canada's Corix, according to a statement from Corix. Highstar did not respond to a request for comment. In a press release Utilities, Inc., was characterised as “customer focused and committed to providing a safe and reliable service”. Corix did not reveal the cost of its acquisition.

To complete the deal, Corix bought Hydro Star from Highstar Capital. Hydro Star is the sole shareholder of Utilities, Inc. The company is attempting to become “the leading” multi-utility infrastructure provider in North America and its purchase of Utilities, Inc. underscored its plan, Corix claimed.

Wells Fargo advised Corix on the acquisition, Corix said, adding that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Toronto Dominion Bank arranged financing for the deal.

Corix, a 435-person sustainable water, wastewater and energy infrastructure service, is owned by $91 billion pension fund manager British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and CAI Capital Management.

A 290,000-customer company based in Illinois, Utilities, Inc., is focused on the US Sunbelt region, according to a description on Highstar’s website. 

Highstar, which used Citi and RBC Capital Markets as joint adviser and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius as legal counsel in selling Utilities, Inc., has $5.5 billion under management. The fund manager opened in 2000, led by Christopher Lee.