On Thursday, Anglian Water became the first company to publicly respond to the challenges issued by government and Ofwat at Water UK’s City Conference on 1 March. The company set out a package of measures through which it hopes to demonstrate public interest is at the heart of its business. The package has the full backing of the entire Anglian Water board, as well as its pension fund-backed shareholders.
Among the measures the company backed in a formal response letter to Ofwat are:
Speedy removal of its Cayman Islands subsidiary.
Repayment of an inter-company loan to simplify the presentation of its accounts, by the end of the financial year.
Collaboration with Ofwat on licence change proposals to ensure it is held to account for acting in the public interest.
Changing the composition of the Anglian Water Services board so that independent non-executive directors are in the majority, and not just the largest group.
Investing an extra £65m in resilience schemes not included in the company’s original plan, by 2020, paid for through a reduction in dividends to shareholders.
Reduced dividends through to 2025, resulting in a significant reduction in the company’s level of debt and gearing.
Chief executive, Peter Simpson (pictured), said: “This is the next chapter to add to our solid track record of anticipating and responding to challenge. We are proud that, since the introduction of our Love Every Drop strategy in 2011, we have made terrific steps forward in operational performance, customer service and environmental stewardship. This culminated in being named Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year in 2017, but we recognise that further changes will help to strengthen trust and confidence in the water industry. We want to be at the forefront of this.”
See the March issue of THE WATER REPORT for more detail and analysis .