Thames Seeks Options With Creditors After Board Members Quit

The parent company of Thames Water is exploring all options with a group of creditors after a series of board resignations.

Bloomberg
Updated20 May 2024
Thames Seeks Options With Creditors After Board Members Quit
Thames Seeks Options With Creditors After Board Members Quit

(Bloomberg) -- The parent company of Thames Water is exploring all options with a group of creditors after a series of board resignations.

Two directors resigned from Thames Water (Kemble) Finance and several quit from Kemble Water Finance Limited, two of the units that make up the firm’s complex holding structure. Paul O’Donnell and Nick Pike, both restructuring experts, have been appointed to help engage with creditors and assess options for the company, according to company statements on Monday. Meanwhile, a group of creditors has appointed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as its legal adviser.

The shakeup is the latest sign that Thames will struggle to get the billions of pounds it needs to fix aging infrastructure and tackle chronic leaks and sewage spills. The parent company defaulted last month after Thames shareholders announced they were refusing to inject any more equity into the utility, declaring its business plan “uninvestible.” Kemble’s debt pile, however, pales in comparison to the roughly £16 billion ($20 billion) owed by the operating company. 

Shareholders to the highly indebted water utility, which supplies a quarter of people in England, blame restrictive regulation from Ofwat. Thames’s biggest shareholder, Omers Farmoor Singapore Pte, a vehicle of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, wrote off the entire value of its stake. 

But even as the company’s crisis deepens, Thames Water’s finance needs keep growing.

It recently said it will need to spend £1.1 billion more than previously thought to fix chronic leaks and sewage spills, despite not having the backing of its shareholders for new equity. The next big deadline for the company is June 12, when the regulator Ofwat announces its draft decision on the company’s next five-year business plan. Thames Water (Kemble) Finance Plc has been working with Alvarez & Marsal.

--With assistance from Giulia Morpurgo.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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