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WATER WORLD
Egypt FM to Ethiopia for 'life or death' water talks
by Staff Writers
Cairo (AFP) June 10, 2013


British water firm Severn Trent rejects latest bid
London (AFP) June 10, 2013 - British water supplier Severn Trent rejected on Monday the latest takeover attempt by a consortium including Canadian and Kuwaiti investment companies, which in turn said it would make no further offers.

"The board of directors of Severn Trent announces that it has given careful consideration to the pre-conditional possible offer," the group said in a statement.

It added: "The board, having consulted its financial advisers, has unanimously concluded that the proposal continues to fail to reflect the significant long term value of Severn Trent or to recognise its future potential."

Severn Trent had already rejected two previous offers from the consortium.

On Friday, the consortium lodged its third takeover bid at 2,200 pence per share, but the 5.3-billion offer assumed that a final dividend for the year ending in March 2013 had not been paid by Severn Trent to its shareholders.

"If the announced final dividend is paid to shareholders ... then the proposal values each Severn Trent ordinary share at 2,154.49 pence," Severn Trent added on Monday.

In reaction, the consortium announced that it would not be giving any improved offer.

"No member of the consortium or its advisers has met any of the directors of Severn Trent or its advisers, despite repeated requests," said Michael Rolland, president and CEO of Borealis, commenting on behalf of the consortium.

"The Severn Trent Board has shown no interest in discussing our pre-conditional offer with us.

"In the absence of any such engagement, there will be no further proposal from the consortium and no offer for Severn Trent shareholders to consider."

The consortium comprises Canadian group Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc., the Kuwait Investment Office and British pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited.

Egypt's foreign minister is to hold talks in Addis Ababa on Ethiopia's plan to build a Nile dam that has stirred "life or death" concerns over water resources, the premier announced Monday.

Hisham Qandil told the Senate, taking the place of parliament until a new National Assembly is elected, that Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr would travel to Ethiopia "in the coming days to give the Egyptian point of view" on the project.

"Water is a question of life or death for the Egyptian people. Water is a matter of national security," he stressed.

"Egypt's share of the Nile that is 55 billion cubic metres does not meet the daily needs of Egypt and its needs for growth. Egypt entered a phase of hydraulic poverty five years ago," the premier said.

While acknowledging that its allocation was fixed, Qandil said the rising needs posed "a great challenge to economic and social stability".

Ethiopia has begun diverting the Blue Nile some 500 metres (yards) from its natural course to construct the dam, sparking anger from some Egyptian politicians.

The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to form the Nile which then flows through Egypt.

Last week, Egypt said it would demand that Ethiopia end construction of the massive dam, which is being built at a cost of $4.2 billion.

Cairo believes more studies are needed of the dam's impact on its water supply which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile.

Egypt says its "historic rights" to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile's flow and give it veto power over upstream projects.

But a new deal was signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allowing them to work on river projects without Cairo's prior agreement.

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