QIC becomes latest to dilute Thames Water stake

The Australian firm follows Macquarie and State Super in divesting from the utility, although it will retain a 5.3% ownership.

Australian investment manager QIC has sold a 3.3 percent stake in Thames Water following a deal with compatriot pension QSuper.

The move increases the Queensland government’s pension investor’s interest in Thames Water, a company in which QIC has managed an equity stake on behalf of the fund since 2006. Thames Water could not disclose the size of QSuper’s current share. Neither QIC nor QSuper could be reached before press time.

The transaction represents the third change of ownership in Thames Water within the last six weeks. Toronto-based Fiera Infrastructure increased its stake from 2.3 percent to 5 percent in early March in a deal worth C$200 million ($149 million; €140 million) with State Super, while fellow Canadian Borealis Infrastructure and Kuwait’s Wren House Infrastructure Management shortly after bought out Macquarie’s 26.3 percent share, believed to be valued between £1.3 billion ($1.57 billion, €1.48 billion) and £1.4 billion.

Thames Water declined to disclose the size of QSuper’s investment.
The UK’s largest water and wastewater utility was fiercely condemned by a UK judge last month and handed a £20.3 million fine for discharging 1.4 billion litres of untreated sewage into the river Thames in 2012-14.

“One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned,” Judge Francis Sheridan said.

Thames Water’s other shareholders include BT Pension Scheme, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and AMP Capital.