Macquarie - The Tale Of The River Bank

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20170905

Are profits polluting the UK water industry? Michael Robinson investigates.

In March, Thames Water was ordered to pay a record £20-million fine for repeatedly leaking sewage into the River Thames. When the leaks happened, Thames Water's owners were investors from around the world, many of their funds concealed offshore, with ultimate control resting with Macquarie Bank. Macquarie is an Australian investment bank with a reputation for hiring the brightest graduates and turning them into millionaires. The "Millionaire Factory" specialises in turning unexciting infrastructure companies like Thames Water into highly profitable operations.

So how profitable was Thames Water when its equipment repeatedly failed? Reporter Michael Robinson attempts to find out and discovers that even the regulator Ofwat has limited information about the companies it is asked to keep in check on behalf of consumers. Thames was loaded with debt, while dividends were diverted to companies offshore. Some leading authorities in the utility field tell Robinson that monopoly providers of vital services like water, should be forced to be more transparent.

The sewage incidents between 2012 and 2014 caused long-term pollution in the Thames and some tributaries, revolting riverside users and wiping out the season for a commercial cray fisherman. Billions of litres of sewage were released and the Environmental Agency which prosecuted the case, said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case it had ever undertaken.

"This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs," said Judge Francis Sheridan, who delivered the sentence at Aylesbury Crown Court. "It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions."

"I have to make the fine sufficiently large that [Thames Water] get the message," he said. Describing the breaches as "wicked" and noting the companies "continual failure to report incidents" and "history of non-compliance", he said: "One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned."

Thames Water has subsequently been sold to new owners. Macquarie has since been involved in a consortium which has bought part of the UK's gas distribution arm of the National Grid.

Presenter:Michael Robinson
Producer:Matt Bardo
Producer:Andrew Smith.

In March, Thames Water was ordered to pay a record £20-million fine for repeatedly leaking sewage into the River Thames. When the leaks happened, Thames Water's owners were investors from around the world, many of their funds concealed offshore, with ultimate control resting with Macquarie Bank. Macquarie is an Australian investment bank with a reputation for hiring the brightest graduates and turning them into millionaires. The "Millionaire Factory" specialises in turning unexciting infrastructure companies like Thames Water into highly profitable operations.

So how profitable was Thames Water when its equipment repeatedly failed? Reporter Michael Robinson attempts to find out and discovers that even the regulator Ofwat has limited information about the companies it is asked to keep in check on behalf of consumers. Thames was loaded with debt minimising its tax bill while dividends were diverted to companies offshore. Some leading authorities in the utility field tell Robinson that monopoly providers of vital services like water, should be forced to be more transparent.

The sewage incidents between 2012 and 2014 caused long-term pollution in the Thames and some tributaries, revolting riverside users and wiping out the season for a commercial cray fisherman. 1.9 billion litres of sewage were released and the Environmental Agency which prosecuted the case, said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case it had ever undertaken.

"This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs," said Judge Francis Sheridan, who delivered the sentence at Aylesbury Crown Court. "It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions."

"I have to make the fine sufficiently large that [Thames Water] get the message," he said. Describing the breaches as "wicked" and noting the companies "continual failure to report incidents" and "history of non-compliance", he said: "One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned."

Thames Water has subsequently been sold to new owners. Macquarie has since been involved in a consortium which has bought part of the UK's gas distribution arm of the National Grid.

Presenter:Michael Robinson
Producer:Matt Bardo
Producer:Andrew Smith.

20170905

Are profits polluting the UK water industry? Michael Robinson investigates.

In March, Thames Water was ordered to pay a record £20-million fine for repeatedly leaking sewage into the River Thames. When the leaks happened, Thames Water's owners were investors from around the world, many of their funds concealed offshore, with ultimate control resting with Macquarie Bank. Macquarie is an Australian investment bank with a reputation for hiring the brightest graduates and turning them into millionaires. The "Millionaire Factory" specialises in turning unexciting infrastructure companies like Thames Water into highly profitable operations.

So how profitable was Thames Water when its equipment repeatedly failed? Reporter Michael Robinson attempts to find out and discovers that even the regulator Ofwat has limited information about the companies it is asked to keep in check on behalf of consumers. Thames was loaded with debt, while dividends were diverted to companies offshore. Some leading authorities in the utility field tell Robinson that monopoly providers of vital services like water, should be forced to be more transparent.

The sewage incidents between 2012 and 2014 caused long-term pollution in the Thames and some tributaries, revolting riverside users and wiping out the season for a commercial cray fisherman. Billions of litres of sewage were released and the Environmental Agency which prosecuted the case, said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case it had ever undertaken.

"This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs," said Judge Francis Sheridan, who delivered the sentence at Aylesbury Crown Court. "It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions."

"I have to make the fine sufficiently large that [Thames Water] get the message," he said. Describing the breaches as "wicked" and noting the companies "continual failure to report incidents" and "history of non-compliance", he said: "One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned."

Thames Water has subsequently been sold to new owners. Macquarie has since been involved in a consortium which has bought part of the UK's gas distribution arm of the National Grid.

Presenter:Michael Robinson
Producer:Matt Bardo
Producer:Andrew Smith.

In March, Thames Water was ordered to pay a record £20-million fine for repeatedly leaking sewage into the River Thames. When the leaks happened, Thames Water's owners were investors from around the world, many of their funds concealed offshore, with ultimate control resting with Macquarie Bank. Macquarie is an Australian investment bank with a reputation for hiring the brightest graduates and turning them into millionaires. The "Millionaire Factory" specialises in turning unexciting infrastructure companies like Thames Water into highly profitable operations.

So how profitable was Thames Water when its equipment repeatedly failed? Reporter Michael Robinson attempts to find out and discovers that even the regulator Ofwat has limited information about the companies it is asked to keep in check on behalf of consumers. Thames was loaded with debt minimising its tax bill while dividends were diverted to companies offshore. Some leading authorities in the utility field tell Robinson that monopoly providers of vital services like water, should be forced to be more transparent.

The sewage incidents between 2012 and 2014 caused long-term pollution in the Thames and some tributaries, revolting riverside users and wiping out the season for a commercial cray fisherman. 1.9 billion litres of sewage were released and the Environmental Agency which prosecuted the case, said it was the biggest freshwater pollution case it had ever undertaken.

"This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs," said Judge Francis Sheridan, who delivered the sentence at Aylesbury Crown Court. "It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions."

"I have to make the fine sufficiently large that [Thames Water] get the message," he said. Describing the breaches as "wicked" and noting the companies "continual failure to report incidents" and "history of non-compliance", he said: "One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned."

Thames Water has subsequently been sold to new owners. Macquarie has since been involved in a consortium which has bought part of the UK's gas distribution arm of the National Grid.

Presenter:Michael Robinson
Producer:Matt Bardo
Producer:Andrew Smith.