Anglian Water – Digging Deeper

31 Oct

I decided to have a look on line to check out Anglian Water’s accounts from the last few years and found out some interesting things.

The Background

Anglian Water used to belong to you.  The infrastructure was built using your money, its assets were acquired using your money and the company was run using your money.  Any profit the company may have made was declared to the Tax man and was paid into the kitty used to run your country and therefore improve the social wellbeing of all of us through things such as the NHS.  Then this all changed.  The Tory government of the day decided to sell off your water company to the highest bidder and spent the money they made on….. Well who knows what they spent it on, but they did spend it and now you no longer own your local water company and they are now only answerable to the board of directors and Ofwat.

So Who Owns the Company Now and Where Do the Profits Go?

The Anglian Water group now consists of several companies.  These include Anglian Water Services Holdings Limited, Anglian Water Services Overseas Holdings Limited, Anglian Water Services Limited and Anglian Water Services Financing Plc.  These companies are owned in turn by Colonial First State (an Australian company, 32.3%) CPP Investment Board (a Canadian company, 32.9%) Industry Funds Management (an Australian company, 19.8%) and 3i (a UK company, 15%).  These companies are mainly pension funds and hold a total of £305.1 billion in shares and assets.

Now I’m not suggesting that anything illegal is taking place but some of the companies, as stated in the publicly available accounts are registered in the Cayman Islands and in Jersey, and the accounts state that they have no employees.  All work undertaken on behalf of the group is done by Anglian Water Services Limited, the UK arm of the company.  So a company that you used to own that is worth at least £305 billion is using perfectly legal means to avoid paying tax on its not insubstantial assets.  Think about that next time you receive a bill.

The Pension Fund

Anglian Water wound up its final salary pension fund in 2002.  However, for the existing liabilities they have a shortfall of £141.2 million.  This has doubled in the last year.  No doubt when it comes to their employees having to suffer for this financial mismanagement, the offshore untaxed profits won’t be offered up as an alternative to pay for the years of loyal service of its staff in their latter years.

A Strange Investor

One of the companies who own a large stake in Anglian Water, CPP Investments, appear to be gambling on the future misery of its customers as its priority seems to rely on a gamble that as climate change takes effect the company will need to invest millions in the infrastructure to cope with rising rainfall and droughts in the summer.  These costs will inevitably be passed onto the customer with some EU funding thrown in for good measure, making even more profits for the company based in Canada.  Truth is any money this ever expanding business makes, it seeks to pay as little tax on as is legally possible and all of its profits are shared out between a load of foreign investors who will remove as much cash as they can out of this country.

And don’t forget, you used to own it…….

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