Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese)

Alex Hern asks why the public sector is fine for this government - so long as it's the Chinese public sector

I for one welcome our new China Investment Corporation overlords

 

Britain’s largest water company, Thames Water, has sold a nine per cent stake to a Chinese state investment company.

The FT reports:

In a statement on Friday the China Investment Corporation, the country’s $410bn sovereign wealth fund, confirmed it had taken an 8.68 per cent stake in the holding company that owns Thames Water.

CIC said the deal had been done through a wholly-owned subsidiary but gave no further details on how much it had paid for the stake.

In December Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, acquired about 9.9 per cent of Thames Water from a consortium of investors led by Australian investment bank Macquarie.

This investment following a visit to China by George Osborne aimed at promoting more investment into British infrastructure.

With Thames Water now almost a fifth owned by foreign governments, and vast amounts of foreign state ownership in other public infrastructure companies from trains (Arriva) to postal services (DHL) and energy (EDF), the government will have an increasingly hard line justifying its long-held belief that private companies are inherently more efficient than state-owned ones.

Indeed, with the opening of the London-Frankfurt line in 2015, Deutsche Bahn will be operating on British soil under its own name for the first time.

There is a certain element of reciprocity, however. British state-owned corporations operating overseas include the BBC, through its BBC worldwide branch, and RBS, which is 84 per cent owned by the Treasury, although the latter is expected to be sold off shortly.

Even if it weren’t, it is clear that those nations we most wish to emulate are also the ones with a public sector so robust that it spreads into other countries.

If a state is going to own British utilities, oughtn’t it be Britain?

See also:

When the private sector collapses for a second timeCormac Hollingsworth, January 19th 2012

What Labour needs to say about debtGeorge Irvin, January 16th 2012

Public sector pensions no more gold-plated than those in private sectorNigel Stanley, November 28th 2011

More evidence Gideon’s savage attack on public sector pensions will hit women hardestNigel Stanley, November 21st 2011

Public sector jobs are growing in London and the South East; here’s whyEd Cox and Will Cook, November 11th 2011

15 Responses to “Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese)”

  1. Sarah G

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  2. Suzanne Fernandes

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese) http://t.co/jlI72EeY

  3. NConway

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  4. Political Planet

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): Alex Hern asks why the public sector is fine for this governmen… http://t.co/uEVPT353

  5. Rikbut

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  6. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese) http://t.co/3IhzTupI

  7. graham manley

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  8. John Loudoun

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  9. Jerry Hall

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  10. BevR

    Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese): http://t.co/Rplylana by @alexhern

  11. Mr. Sensible

    You’d like to think that that would make sense, particularly since with water there’s no competition; there’s only 1 provider per region.

  12. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese) http://t.co/Dowi1uXt

  13. liane gomersall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese) http://t.co/52EppwHJ

  14. Metering can reduce water use, so why is the government not backing it? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Thames Water gets nationalised (by the Chinese) – Alex Hern, January 20th […]

  15. Britain and the Chinese: From exploiter to supplicant? | Left Foot Forward

    […] Early this year, China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, bought 8.68% of the company behind UK utility group Thames […]

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