Invest Bid

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Invest Bid

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Egypt's bid to build foreign investment.

Consortium circling Severn Trent expected to raise bid; BUT BID WILL NOT GO HOSTILE IF IT IS REJECTED.

Byline:
SION
 , in the Bible.

1 Same as Mt. Hermon.

2 Variant of Zion.


Sion, town, Switzerland
 , Ger.
 BARRY Business Editor sion.barry@walesonline.co.uk

FOREIGN and British bidders are poised to return with a higher bid
for water group
Severn Trent

, while overseas investors are also jostling
to buy a stake in Yorkshire Water owner Kelda, according to reports.

A consortium of bidders led by Canadian infrastructure investment
group Borealis is likely to make a bid of around PS5bn Severn before a
June 11 deadline, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Severn supplies 4.2 million households and businesses across the
Midlands and parts of Wales.

In a separate development, the Sunday Times said international
suitors, including Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth arm, are
considering buying a 30% stake in Yorkshire Water for between PS1bn and
PS1.5bn, put up for sale by its private equity and fund owners.

Severn rejected an undisclosed offer from Borealis, the Kuwait
Investment Office and Universities
Superannuation

 Scheme earlier this
month as significantly undervaluing the group.

But the consortium is reportedly poised to return with a bid of
around 2000p to 2100p, valuing it at just under PS5bn - ahead of a
Takeover Panel deadline of June 11.

The report added the consortium will not go hostile with its bid if
Severn's board again rejects the offer.

Severn said earlier this month: "The board of Severn Trent has
reviewed the proposal with its advisers and concluded that it completely
fails to recognise the existing and potential value of Severn
Trent." It added the bid offered "only a modest premium"
to its share price prior to takeover interest becoming known.

Borealis already co-owns the UK's biggest ports operator
Associated British Ports and the London-to-Paris High Speed 1 rail line.
It invests on behalf of thousands of Canadian workers and pensioners in
the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

The
Kuwait Investment Authority

 invests the emirate's vast oil
wealth while the Universities Superannuation Scheme invests the pensions
of UK higher education workers.

A spokesman for Borealis declined to comment.

British water firms are prized by foreign investors and pension
funds for their monopoly on customers and relatively stable returns.

Only Severn, North West water group United Utilities and South West
Water owner Pennon Group remain on the stock market after buyouts of
Yorkshire Water, Northumbrian Water and Thames Water in recent years.

However, water firms' returns are under scrutiny and could be
driven lower when water regulator Ofwat makes its five-year ruling on
prices. Ofwat will next year decide how much bills should rise by
between 2015 and 2020.

Severn is due to report a slight dip in underlying pre-tax profits
to PS271.5m for the year to the end of March on Thursday, down from
PS275.3m a year earlier, according to a consensus of analysts. But
revenues are forecast to rise to PS1.83bn from PS1.77bn a year earlier.

Kelda was bought by Saltaire Water - a consortium including
Citigroup,
HSBC

HSBC Humane Society of Bay County  
, fund manager M&G and Singapore's sovereign
wealth arm
GIC

See guaranteed investment contract (GIC).
 - for PS3bn in 2007. Yorkshire Water supplies about 5.6
million customers.

Kelda's owners have put a 30% stake up for sale, the report
said, with investors including Goldman Sachs also interested. Kelda did
not comment and the consortium could not be contacted.

CAPTION(S):

Bidders are expected to return with a higher bid for water group
Severn Trent

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