Our recent history

Significant events since privatisation

The timeline below features the major events that have occurred since United Utilities was formed by joining together the North West Water and Norweb organisations.

Year Event


North West Water is privatised.


Norweb, distributor and supplier of electricity in North West England, is privatised.


United Utilities is formed following the acquisition of Norweb.


The group creates the company Vertex to manage back office functions of its regulated utility businesses, which becomes a leading business process outsourcer.


The group establishes International Water, with global engineering partner Bechtel - major deals in Australia and the Philippines are announced.


United Utilities pulls out of the retail energy market and sells Norweb Energi to TXU. The group retains Norweb's electricity distribution and telecommunications businesses.


The group is restructured into five core businesses and announces the phasing out of the Norweb and North West Water identities. The regulated businesses are joined at an operational level for the first time.


United Utilities acquires Hyder Industrial and reinforces its market position in the industrial water and wastewater treatment sector.


For the first time, the United Utilities brand appears on water bills, vehicles, adverts and clothing across the North West of England.


First stage of the United Utilities rights issue (c. £0.5 billion raised).


Second stage of the rights issue (c. £0.5 billion raised).


United Utilities acquires a 15% stake in Northern Gas Networks and wins a contract to operate the gas network across the North of England, covering the North East and parts of Yorkshire, following National Grid Transco's decision to sell off some of its network.


United Utilities completes the sale of its electricity distribution assets for an enterprise value of £1,782 million to Electricity North West. The group has a contract to manage these assets through to 2015. The sale price represents net equity proceeds of £1,050 million which formed part of a £1.5 billion return to shareholders in 2008/09.


United Utilities disposes of its stake in THUS Group plc as part of its strategy to focus on core utility skills.


United Utilities disposes of Vertex as part of its strategy to focus on core utility skills.


The group restructures internally into an asset owner function and an asset operator function, in order to create a more commercially focused environment.


United Utilities delists from the New York Stock Exchange to facilitate deregistration under the Securities and Exchange Act 1934, with the aim of reducing compliance costs. The company retains its American Depositary Shares on an unlisted basis.


The group agrees the divestment of its holdings in Northern Gas Networks and Manila Water Company for c. £130 million.


United Utilities announces the completion of its non-regulated disposal programme*, achieving a total enterprise value of approximately £600 million.

* The non-regulated disposal programme included the disposal of United Utilities investments in Northern Gas Networks and Manila Water, which completed in the prior year, together with the disposal of its electricity operations and maintenance business in the North West of England, its holding in Meter Fit, its Australian business, its principal UK and European non-regulated water interests, its contract with Northern Gas Networks, its gas and electricity metering installation contract and its municipal solid waste related interests.


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