Chinese wealth fund pumps money in Thames Water

Thames WaterA Chinese sovereign wealth fund has taken a major stake in UK utility giant Thames Water, giving a boost to the Chancellor's infrastructure initiative.The state-backed China Investment Corporation (CIC) announced that it has acquired an 8.68% stake in one of the UK's leading water and sewerage companies. This is the first UK investment by the £265bn fund that was created in 2007 by the Chinese Ministry of Finance to seek opportunities globally.

Chancellor George Osborne has spent a week in the region drumming up support for UK business and promoting his initiative to encourage foreign private investment to back infrastructure projects.

On Monday, he struck an agreement with the Chinese authorities to allow the City to become the preferred Western hub for offshore currency trading. The deal will see the City become the focal point of future trading of the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), and bring closer ties to the Chinese economy.

Thames Water supplies 14 million customers and employs 4,500 staff, and has caught the eye of overseas investors. In December, the company received a cash injection from the Dubai-based SWF Abu Dhabi Investment Authority after it grabbed a 9.9% stake.

A Thames Water spokesman confirmed the deal but said the company could not give any further details at this time.

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