Sumitomo Sells Half of U.K. Water Supply Holding to Osaka Gas

Sumitomo Corp. sold half of the holding in a U.K. water supplier that it acquired in February to Osaka Gas Co., making the group Japan’s first urban gas utility to be involved in an overseas water-supply business.

Osaka Gas’s U.K. subsidiary acquired 50 percent of the shares of Summit Water UK Ltd., the holding company of Sutton & East Surrey Water Plc owned by Sumitomo, it said today in a statement. No terms were given.

Sumitomo and Osaka Gas will each hold half of the SWUK joint venture that’s being renamed Sumisho Osaka Gas Water UK Ltd., Sumitomo said in the statement. Sumitomo didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking further comment and financial details.

Sutton & East Surrey, the water utility that supplies 670,000 people southeast of London, was sold last February to the Japanese trading firm for 164.5 million pounds ($265 million). The U.K. water business, privatized in 1989, consists of 12 water-supply companies and 10 water and sewage utilities.

The U.K.’s largest by customers is privately held Thames Water Utilities Ltd., the London-based unit of Kemble Water Holdings Ltd. The biggest publicly traded water company in the U.K. is United Utilities Group Plc.

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