Bloomberg News

Severn Trent to Sell Unit to Veolia for 45 Mln Euros

May 12, 2006

Severn Trent Plc, the U.K.'s second- biggest water company, said it agreed to sell its Biffa waste- management unit in Belgium to Veolia Environnement SA for 45 million euros ($58 million.)

The company had said on April 4 that it was planning to turn U.K.-based Biffa into a separate publicly traded business and to consider options for the Belgian division, including a sale. The sale to Paris-based Veolia, the world's biggest water company, is expected to be completed before the end of the year, Severn Trent said in an announcement through PR Newswire today.

British landfill sites are becoming more profitable as their capacity drops. Landfill is still the main means of managing most of the U.K.'s waste as about 80 percent of municipal waste and around 50 percent of industrial and commercial waste is managed by landfills, according to the Environmental Services Association's Web site.

Severn Trent bought Biffa in 1991 for 212 million pounds. It now contributes about 15 percent of the company's overall profit, employs 4,000 people in the U.K. and Belgium and controls 11 percent of the U.K. landfill market.

Severn Trent shares fell 26 pence, or 2.2 percent, to 1,154 pence in London. The stock is up 19 percent in the past year.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Coulter at

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