Dec 1, 2017

Thames Water promises to clean up its act

Thames Water sought this week to draw a line under a terrible year, but Britain's biggest water utility faces a clean-up act on a scale to match the billions of litres of sewage it dumped into Britain's most famous river. Only a day after Thames Water promised a clean start under a new team, the utilities regulator said information it had issued could not be taken at face value after finding shortcomings in its financial reporting. The regulator was critical of data handling at other water companies but Thames Water was seen as the most egregious example in an industry routinely accused of poor service and questioned over accounting practices. Far from Thames Water being an isolated example, it found that the nine English regional water and sewage companies - three of which are listed on the stock market and six of which are owned privately - had all extracted nearly all of their post-tax profit as dividends. Thames Water has a holding company called Kemble Water beneath which is a stack of up to 10 subsidiary companies.

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