United in £174.2m disposal

United Utilities offloaded more of its non-regulated interests yesterday after agreeing a deal worth £174.2m with Veolia Water UK.

The planned disposal by Warrington-based United, which is the UK's largest listed water company, involves outsourcing, industrial engineering and infrastructure contracts, including a project to manage the building of a new waste water treatment works in the Brighton area for Southern Water.

France-based Veolia Water said it will become the "leading player" in the non-regulated water sector in the UK as a result of the acquisition.

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The company, a specialist in outsourcing services for local authorities, is paying 108.6m for the businesses and assuming debt of 65.6m.

United's recent strategy of selling off non-core business recently saw it dispose of its Australian subsidiary for 136m, following last November's exit from Yorkshire gas distributor Northern Gas Networks for 86m.