International Water and United Utilities purchase majority stake in AS Tallinna Vesi

International Water and United Utilities International (UU) announced that they have agreed to acquire a 50.4% stake in AS Tallinna Vesi from the Tallinn City Government in Estonia.

TALLIN CITY, Estonia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 12, 2001-- International Water and United Utilities International (UU) announced that they have agreed to acquire a 50.4% stake in AS Tallinna Vesi from the Tallinn City Government in Estonia.

The acquisition is a result of an international tender to assist the Tallinn City government expand and improve their local water and wastewater systems. AS Tallinna Vesi provides integrated water and wastewater services for approximately 420,000 people.

``We are delighted to reach full agreement with the government on the terms of the share sale,'' said Didier Quint, Managing Director of International Water. ``Now that the agreement has been signed, we can begin to help modernise and improve their water distribution and waste-water collection systems.''

``This acquisition gives us a good opportunity to invest in a stable company with excellent future prospects, in a country that clearly has a very bright future,'' said Gordon Waters, Managing Director of United Utilities International. ``We are looking forward to working with the staff of Tallinna Vesi, to provide improved and affordable services to our customers.''

International Water / UU bid 1.3282 billion EEK for a 50.4 percent holding in Tallinna Vesi. The bid price for 30 million new shares in Tallinn Water was EEK 687 million, and the price of 28 million shares presently owned by the City of Tallinn, EEK 641.2 million. As part of the sale agreement, tariffs would remain at present levels through 2003, with a 15% tariff increase to take effect in 2004 - 2005.

``I am certain that International Water UU will be a good partner to the City of Tallinn and that everyone in Tallinn will benefit from this collaboration'', said Rain Tamm of Lohmus, Haavel & Viisemann, who have advised International Water UU during the sale process.

``The city of Tallinn is very much pleased with the offer of International Water UU and I do hope that our collaboration with the British water enterprise will be a successful one,'' said Deputy-mayor of Tallinn Heiki Kivimaa.

International Water and United Utilities International have collaborated successfully on many previous occasions to develop, finance, own, and manage complex water infrastructure projects around the world. Previous transactions in the U.K., Australia, Poland, Philippines and Bulgaria have included development and execution of water and wastewater concessions, privately financed projects, and acquisition of water company shares. United Utilities provides water, wastewater and electricity distribution and green generation services to over 12 million people in the UK and together with International Water supplies over 22 million people worldwide.

International Water is jointly owned by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc of the United States, and Edison S.p.A. of Italy, two of the world's leading infrastructure companies. Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc. is the project development, finance, ownership, and asset management entity of the Bechtel organisation, a major international engineering and construction company headquartered in San Francisco. It has developed 52 privatised infrastructure projects with a total constructed value exceeding $20 billion.

Edison S.p.A., an affiliate of Group Montedison, is Italy's largest private energy services company, which is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity and natural gas in Italy and Mediterranean countries. Edison also owns water sector assets in Italy and is active in the telecommunications sector.

United Utilities International (UUI) is a part of the United Utilities Group of Companies, which provides services in water, wastewater, electricity distribution and gas supply, telecommunications and business operations outsourcing. It employs more than 15,000 staff in wholly owned and associated companies in more than 10 countries worldwide.

International Water / UU's financial advisor in the privatisation process is Lohmus, Haavel & Viisemann and the legal advisor is Raidla & Partners.

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