Our business

A brief history

The Cambridge Water Company was established by The Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Act in 1853 to supply fresh water to the town and university as a commercial enterprise and remained in private ownership until 1973. At this time, the Water Act established the new regional water authorities that would manage water resources. It required the regional water authorities to operate on a cost recovery basis, with capital to meet investment requirements raised by borrowing from central government and revenue from services provided. (Read more about our history.)

The water industry was privatised in 1989 and was privately owned until it became a public limited company in 1996 and was re-registered as Cambridge Water PLC. From 1999 there were various owners until October 2011, when the company was acquired by South Staffordshire PLC and operates as a supply region. 

Today, long-term pension scheme and institutional investors, advised by Arjun Infrastructure Partners, have the controlling interest in the Group, after acquiring 55.1% from KKR in July 2018 and the remaining interest from The Mitsubishi Corporation in 2022. 

About South Staffordshire Plc

South Staffordshire Plc, the immediate parent company of Cambridge Water, ensures through its detailed knowledge of all its subsidiaries and the water sector that it understands the duties and obligations of a regulated company. Although some Directors sit on both of the Boards of Cambridge Water and South Staffordshire Plc, Cambridge Water acts, where applicable, with the support of South Staffordshire Plc, as if it were a listed company.

There are a number of UK registered intermediate holding companies in the Group structure, headed by Hydriades IV Limited, the ultimate holding company registered in the UK. There are also intermediate holding companies above Hydriades IV Limited which are registered in Jersey but which are resident in the UK for tax purposes. 

More information on the Group ownership structure can be found in our Annual Financial Accounts

South Staffordshire PLC

Find out more about South Staffordshire PLC and the other companies in the Group.