University pension fund graduates to Thames' owner stake

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), is to acquire a 10.94% stake in Thames Water Utilities’s holding company, Kemble Water Holdings.

USS – the sole corporate trustee of one of the UK’s largest pension funds – will become the third largest shareholder in Kemble once it has completed its acquisition of stakes held by QSuper, Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and OPTrust.

USS holds investments in other regulated infrastructure with stakes in Heathrow Airport Holdings and NATS in the UK and in other regulated assets around the world.

Michael Powell, Head of Private Markets Group at USS Investment Management said: “USS is a responsible long-term investor and steward for the assets we own and we look forward to developing a long-term relationship with the management team and continuing to strengthen our relationship with Ofwat and other stakeholders”.

Chief Executive Officer of Thames Water Steve Robertson, said: “Pension funds need to invest for the long-term on behalf of their members, as we do for our customers, so they are a good partner for us”.

Earlier in the week Canadian municipal workers' pension plan, OMERS, added a further 5.5% stake to its holding in Kemble. The additional shares bought by the pension's infrastructure investment arm, Borealis Infrastructure, from AMP Capital, took OMERS' total stake in Kemble to about 23%.

OMERS began investing in Thames less than two months ago.