Leep Utilities, an independent multi-utility operator, is to purchase SSE Water, a New Appointments and Variations (NAV) company, from SSE plc. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of March and is conditional on approvals typical of a transaction of this nature.
Leep Utilities is a joint-venture between Ancala Partners (Ancala), a mid-market infrastructure investment manager, and the Peel Group (Peel), one of the UK’s leading private real estate investment and infrastructure companies. Leep owns and operates regulated and non-regulated utility networks, including electricity, water and district heating networks, with a portfolio of sites across the country.
SSE Water was established in 2008 under licence from Ofwat. It owns water networks that supply around 20,000 customers across 28 sites in southern England and Wales. It is the largest NAV company operating in the UK’s water sector.
Leep will combine SSE Water with its own operations in the sector, which includes two networks, or ‘insets’, at MediaCityUK, the technology and media hub home to the BBC & ITV in Manchester, and Liverpool International Business Park, which is recognised as a premier business location in the North West of England, and is home to a mixed portfolio of light commercial and industrial businesses.
Louise Manfredi, Managing Director, Leep Utilities, says: “Leep is delighted to be acquiring SSE Water. This purchase will make Leep the leading NAV operator in the UK market and the transaction speaks to the high conviction that we have in the benefits that successful NAV operators can deliver to UK developers, customers and society. We plan to continue to provide best-in-class customer service to our expanded water inset customer base as well as to deliver new ‘straightforward connections’ to developers and connection providers across the country.”
Spence Clunie, Managing Partner at Ancala Partners, says: “NAV companies are currently under-represented compared to incumbents in the market for new water connections in the UK. We have high conviction in the growth of the NAV market and Ofwat’s initiatives to encourage a successfully functioning NAV market should support the growth of the SSE Water business. There is tremendous potential in delivering water and waste water networks more quickly and efficiently to developers whilst improving service and value to end-customers. This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for us to be the leading operator in the NAV sector.”
David Glover, Operations Director at the Peel Group and Chairman of Leep, adds: “This latest initiative with SSE Water is another example of how the Leep team is proving itself to be highly adept at identifying and securing exciting opportunities that deliver benefits for all stakeholders.”
Nathan Sanders, Managing Director, SSE Enterprise, says: “Thanks to the team at SSE Water for the strong contribution to Enterprise over the last decade and I know they will be a success as part of Leep, continuing to provide an excellent service to their customers.”
Already an Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO), Leep offers flexible and commercially advantageous alternatives to the incumbent DNOs in the adoption of electricity networks on new and existing developments. This acquisition adds to the breadth of Leep’s expertise allowing it to provide a multi-utility adoption offering to developers across the UK.