WEARSIDE’S water could soon be in foreign hands.
Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI), controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, is in the preliminary stages of pulling together an offer for Northumbrian Water.
The Far East firm issued a statement to the Stock Exchange in response to ongoing rumours about a possible bid.
“CKI notes the recent speculation regarding a possible offer for Northumbrian Water,” it said.
“CKI is in the preliminary stages of assessing a potential cash offer for Northumbrian Water. There can be no certainty that an offer will ultimately be forthcoming.
“A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”
Northumbrian Water issued its own statement, saying: “The board of Northumbrian Water notes the announcement from Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited that it is in the preliminary stages of assessing a potential cash offer for the company.
“The board confirms that it has not received any proposal which could result in an offer or possible offer for the company.”
Northumbrian Water shares jumped 30.5p to 413.5p in London, valuing the firm at £2.1billion ($3.4billion).