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United Kingdom: Thames Water sees its financial crisis worsen

United Kingdom: Thames Water sees its financial crisis worsen

Thames Water, the United Kingdom's largest water supplier, announced on Thursday that it had not received a 500 million pound (about 571 million francs) investment.

Thames Water said in a press release in July that 'its shareholders have agreed to provide £750m of new capital (…), of which the first tranche of £500m is expected by March 31'.

“The funding is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the preparation of a recovery plan that includes “objectives to improve consumer service, environmental protection,” the press release details.

But according to Thames Water, demands made by sector regulator Ofwat on the group's business plan make it 'uninvestable'.

“The conditions decided in July have not been met and the expected first £500m will not be paid by shareholders by March 31,” the committee continued.

Thames Water points out that it is in discussions with Ofwat and has £2.4bn of liquidity in liquidity and fracking facilities in the meantime.

The precarious situation of the London region's water management board and its boss Sarah Bentley resigned in June, to be replaced by Chris Weston in December, alarming even Downing Street, prompting speculation about the need for a public recovery plan.

Chris Weston, quoted in the press release, wanted to reassure users on Thursday that 'everything continues as normal' for customers.

The UK's biggest water company, which serves 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, has debt of almost 15 billion pounds (about 17.5 billion euros).

In December, Thames Water reported a 57% drop in net profit for the first half ended September.

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The sector has been under fire for years for discharging significant amounts of sewage into rivers and the sea.

Sewage discharges into British waterways rose sharply again last year, prompting a fresh wave of criticism from environmental campaigners.

In October the department pledged to invest 96 billion pounds (almost 110 billion francs) in infrastructure modernization by 2030, at the cost of rising household water bills.