Northern Ireland Water bags four Kelda treatment plants in £100m deal

Northern Ireland Water has gained complete ownership of all clean water production in Northern Ireland after buying Kelda Water Services' (KWS) holdings in four plants at a cost of over £100 million.

Yorkshire Water owner, KWS, has produced nearly 50% of the North's drinking water supply since 2006 from four treatment plants in Antrim, Coleraine, Craigavon and Magherafelt. Northern Ireland Water said it had acquired the stake after Kelda put its non-regulated businesses up for sale.

This included the Project Alpha public private partnership in Northern Ireland, which was set up by Northern Ireland Water and Kelda to help meet European Union drinking water quality standards.

The sale, in which Northern Ireland Water paid KWS £28 million and acquire around £80 million in debt, was supported by the UK government and the Province’s Department of Finance. The transaction will add some 30 KWS staff to Northern Ireland Water's workforce. The deal is tipped to create savings for some 80,000 non-domestic customers of Northern Ireland Water.

"The value generated by this transaction will allow the company to apply a downwards pressure on tariffs," said Northern Ireland Water chief executive, Sara Venning (pictured). "It also represents an opportunity for Northern Ireland Water to reduce its ongoing running costs which releases public expenditure for reinvestment elsewhere."

Len O’ Hagan, chairman of NI Water said: “This brings back into NI Water ownership all clean water production in Northern Ireland. This represents a strong fit with NI Water’s strategy to provide clean safe drinking water to our customers and to do so in a way that secures efficiencies for our customers and for the public purse.”