Beijing bidder eyes up Sutton & East Surrey Water auction

Marion Dakers
SUTTON & East Surrey Water (SESW) has become the latest bit of British infrastructure to attract bid interest from China.

Beijing Water Authority, one of the world’s biggest water companies, has hired HSBC to help it prepare a bid for the utility, according to the Sunday Times.

Current owner Icon Infrastructure expects to take final offers for SESW this week, having put the firm up for auction last autumn.

If successful, Beijing Water Authority would join a growing list of Chinese investors swooping on British infrastructure.

China’s state-controlled CNOOC spent £9.7bn on North Sea oil producer Nexen last summer, and a year ago China Investment Corporation took a stake in Thames Water.

Chancellor George Osborne, who is courting overseas investors to plough money into projects in his national infrastructure plan, hailed the latter deal as “good news for both the British and Chinese economies”.

HSBC declined to comment, while BWA, Icon and SESW could not be reached.