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Takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent Challenged by Plaid AM

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 17th, 2016.

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Assembly Member has urged for an investigation to take place into the takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent Water. 

Yesterday Wrexham.com reported that Dee Valley Group PLC is to be acquired by Severn Trent PLC for £78.5 million.

A month ago Dee Valley Water Group PLC had agreed a £71m deal with Ancala Fornia Limited, however today it has been announced that the company is being sold elsewhere in a precisely 10% better deal with Severn Trent.

Dee Valley Water has said the recommendation for the Ancala Fornia bid has been withdrawn with a new recommendation for Severn Trent’s bid.

Severn Trent say they ‘intend to maintain front line field force operations at Dee Valley’s current locations in Wrexham and Chester’.

The company also says that it intends to ‘maintain a separate Welsh licence for Dee Valley Group’ and it is its intention for the ‘whole of its business to be regulated under Welsh government policy’.

Following yesterday’s announcement Llyr Gruffydd has called for OFWAT, the water regulator, to investigate the takeover of Dee Valley Water by Severn Trent Water.

Mr Gruffydd, said: “This takeover raises several serious questions regarding jobs and services in north Wales. It has happened without consultation with the workforce, local community representatives and flies in the face of recent UK Government claims about handing over powers on water back to Wales.”

He added that Severn Trent have ‘specific issues’ to answer, including:-

“- Guarantees that the jobs of the 190 Dee Valley Water employees will be maintained here in north Wales and not re-located to West Midlands or elsewhere.
– Guarantees to local companies such as Huws Gray, Dependable Concrete, Griffiths Tool Hire and Eco-Readymix, who are part of Dee Valley Water’s existing supply chain to service their operational activity in the Wrexham and Chester areas.
– Guarantees about the pensions of existing employees
– Assurances about the Living Wage. Dee Valley Water is an accredited Living Wage employee whereas Severn Trent is not.”

Mr Gruffydd added: “Dee Valley Water is a Welsh company with a long history going back to 1864 when it was founded in Wrexham and it has deep roots in the local area. It it an important part of the community in terms of its sponsorship and engagement as well as providing a service and good employment.

“I am writing to OFWAT to investigate the takeover proposal and also contacting Severn Trent about the concerns raised by Dee Valley workers in the wake of this news. It’s a very worrying development.”

Yesterday the Labour MPs for Wrexham and Clwyd South, Ian Lucas and Susan Elan Jones said they had ‘major concerns‘ about the takeover deal.

Ken Skates AM has also tweeted to say he is ‘in touch with the company locally and is seeking urgent assurances for the workforce’.

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