OMERS adds 4.36% Thames Water stake

The Canadian pension now holds a 27% stake in the utility after acquiring the share from Hermes.

OMERS Infrastructure Management has upped its ownership stake in Thames Water, the UK utility, after acquiring an additional 4.36 percent share in Kemble Water Holdings from Hermes Investment Management.

The Toronto-based manager of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System was already the largest shareholder and now holds roughly a 27 percent stake in the utility. The firms declined to disclose the price of the deal.

OMERS first acquired a 17.5 percent stake in Kemble, Thames Water’s holding company, in March, investing alongside an arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority. The consortium paid between £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion; €1.5 billion) and £1.4 billion to Macquarie for a combined 26.3 percent share. In July, OMERS bought an additional 5.5 percent interest from Sydney-based AMP Capital.

Hermes, which acquired its original stake in 2012, now holds a reduced ownership interest of 8.7 percent. The London-based firm said it made the deal “primarily for portfolio construction reasons”.

Ownership of Thames Water had shifted several times this year. In July, Universities Superannuation Scheme, a UK pension fund, bought a 10.9 percent stake.

In March, Thames Water was fined £20.3 million after 1.4 billion litres of untreated sewage spilled into the Thames river, killing fish and making people and animals ill.