United Water announces intention to purchase Aquarion Water

United Water Inc., a unit of SUEZ Environnement, has reached an agreement to acquire Aquarion Water Company of New York for $28 million from Aquarion, a division of the Kelda Group. The transaction is subject to the approval of the New York State Public Service Commission. Aquarion is one of the 10 largest publicly traded water treatment service companies in the United States, serving nearly 700,000 people in New England...

HARRINGTON PARK, NJ, Feb. 12, 2007 -- United Water Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Aquarion Water Company of New York for $28 million from Aquarion, a division of the Kelda Group. The transaction is subject to the approval of the New York State Public Service Commission.

"The addition of Aquarion Water Company of New York to our portfolio is in line with our strategy to grow by acquiring companies that are adjacent to our existing operations," said United Water CEO Tony Harding. "This acquisition strengthens our United Water New Rochelle operation and increases our ability to provide excellent customer service and value to our customers in Westchester County."

United Water currently serves approximately 150,000 people in southern Westchester. The company provides service to the city of New Rochelle, the towns of Eastchester and Greenburgh and the villages of Bronxville, Tuckahoe, North Pelham, Pelham Manor, Ardsley, Hastings on Hudson and Dobbs Ferry. Aquarion Water Company of New York serves about 50,000 people in Port Chester, Rye and Rye Brook in Westchester County.

As one of the nation's largest water services companies, United Water provides water and wastewater services to seven million people in 20 states. The company is a subsidiary of the Suez Environment division of the Suez Group, which supplies sustainable solutions for essential environmental services (water, sanitation and waste services) to industrial and individual customers around the world.

United Water is a key component in the Suez strategy to expand its position in North America. In addition to acquisitions, Harding explained that United Water is pursuing growth through public-private partnerships with municipalities. The company currently operates 65 municipal water and wastewater operations through contract agreements. This includes four of the nation's largest municipal contracts: Milwaukee, WI, Indianapolis, IN, Gary, IN and Jersey City, NJ.

"Our new customers will benefit from the best of both worlds," said Harding. "They will of course receive the strong local management and service that United Water brings but will also benefit from access to the global resources of Suez. We are excited about expanding our presence in Westchester and becoming active members of the Port Chester, Rye and Rye Brook communities."

Aquarion Water Company president and CEO Charles V. Firlotte said, "We are pleased with this development, because United Water is a quality company and a well-established and well-respected leader in the drinking water industry. We are very confident that United Water's personnel will provide water and service of the highest quality. We are looking forward to working closely with them to ensure a smooth transition."

Aquarion (www.aquarionwater.com) is one of the 10 largest investor-owned water utilities in the United States, serving approximately 677,000 people, in 53 communities across Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

United Water (www.unitedwater.com) provides water and wastewater services to 7 million people in the United States. In addition to owning and operating 25 regulated utilities, United Water operates 65 municipal systems through public-private partnerships and contact agreements including four of the nation's largest water and wastewater contracts. Founded in 1869, United Water is a subsidiary of the Suez Environment division of the Suez Group.

SUEZ Environment (www.suez-environnement.com), a SUEZ business line, provides equipment and services that protect the environment and deliver the essentials of life. Its activities include drinking water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and waste treatment and recovery. Backed by its experience in the water and waste cycles, SUEZ Environment has a wide-ranging portfolio of know-how providing a sustainable solution to the requirements of local authorities and businesses. SUEZ Environment employs over 72,130 people worldwide and in 2005, generated turnover of 11.1 billion euros.

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Also see:
-- "Kelda exits U.S. water market with $860M sale of Aquarion"

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