Today we heard that the High Court had decided against the workers of Dee Valley Water and allowed the sale of the company to Severn Trent Water to go ahead.
The result is potentially a bitter blow to north east Wales. Dee Valley Water employs some 190 people, and contract work out to 80 local firms. In the event of a Severn Trent take-over much of this would be threatened. We can expect work to be centralised in Coventry. Severn Trent water bills are on average £27 more than Dee Valley Water bills. And, with the deregulation of water in England, and the ensuing scramble for increased market share, we can expect Severn Trent to be concentrating their energies on winning over new customers at the expense of looking after their current customers.
However, all is not lost.
The shareholders who objected to the takeover bid by Severn Trent Water, but were subsequently denied a voice in today’s ruling, have issued this statement (links to a Facebook page),
The shareholders in Dee Valley Group plc (“Dee Valley Group” or the “Company”) who objected to the proposed scheme of arrangement of the Company and the takeover of the Company by Severn Trent Water (“the objecting shareholders”) are disappointed with today’s decision by the High Court which decided that their votes should not be counted for the purposes of considering whether or not the scheme of arrangement and takeover by Severn Trent Water should be approved.
They are currently considering the Judgement and a possible appeal.
The Objecting Shareholders strongly believe that the best interests of the Company, its shareholders and other stakeholders, and the wider community, are best served by Dee Valley Group remaining as an independent water supply company. The Objecting Shareholders do not believe that the takeover of the Company by Severn Trent Water will provide the best outcome for shareholders or for customers in terms of cost and levels of bills and quality of service provision, or for the community and jobs in the local area.
The Objecting Shareholders are pleased that the Court concluded that their actions were not dishonest and that they held a genuine belief that the takeover of the Company by Severn Trent should be defeated for the greater good of the community at large.
The statement makes clear that they are thinking beyond their own personal needs.
The staff at the company have shown remarkable loyalty throughout this process, loyalty to each other, the company but crucially to their community.
They have always put the needs of the service users and the community first, above everything else.
This, if nothing else, shows why we should all support them and hope that, in the event of an appeal, they are successful.