The best long-term plan for Thames Water is to get it back on the stock market

The best long-term plan for Thames Water is to get it back on the stock market

The discipline of being a listed company should mean an end to the days of ultra-high leverage and opaque corporate structures

How bad are things at Thames Water? So bad that Ofwat has invented a new tool – a “turnaround oversight regime” – to get a grip on the financial and operational mess.

The regulator’s manoeuvre is clearly justified. The water company, under its umpteenth new chief executive, has just filed (late) a business plan judged “inadequate”. Its board could not provide formal assurance that statutory obligations on environment performance would be met. And remember, Thames has already been abandoned, in effect, by owners who think the firm is “uninvestable”. So, yes, heightened regulatory scrutiny looks like a minimum requirement until a workable solution is found.

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