Protect Dee Valley Water jobs call

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, has called on Severn Trent to protect jobs and local suppliers after its takeover of Dee Valley Water.

The court appeal by local shareholders has now been dropped and that clears the way for Severn Trent to take the 150-year-old company over.
Mr Gruffydd said, “Before the takeover, some promises were made by Severn Trent about jobs and I now call on the company to maintain a presence in Wales and to ensure that the skills and services provided in Wales are not lost.
 “Wrexham desperately needs good quality jobs and we also need to examine the impact of losing local suppliers. I’d like to see Severn Trent provide assurances to them as well.
 “The campaign to maintain Dee Valley Water’s identity has been hard fought and has created waves far beyond the locality. The workers and campaigners can be very proud of the efforts they have put in to try to keep jobs and services in the area.
 “The resistance to this takeover will have repercussions way beyond this particular battle. The campaign to save Dee Valley Water was about more than changing a company name. It was about our most precious natural resource and who benefits from it. That is a discussion that should continue.”

Statement from opposing shareholders at Dee Valley Water, issued earlier today (Sunday 12.02.2017)

The individual 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 “opposing shareholders”) have decided not to pursue their appeal further against  the judgement of the High Court which determined 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.

The opposing shareholders welcomed the decision of the High Court to grant leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the recognition by the High Court that this case gives rise to important issues.  The opposing shareholders also welcomed the very important finding made by the High Court in its Judgement (rejecting Seven Trent Water’s submissions) that shareholders when considering how to vote on schemes of arrangement and takeovers such as this are entitled to exercise their vote having regard to the impact on employees of the Company, customers, the community or the environment and that they are not solely required to have regard to financial factors such as the price.  In the view of the opposing shareholders, this is a very important point which has been clarified for the benefit and protection of shareholders and employees and other stakeholders of companies which, in the future, are subject to takeovers similar to that faced by Dee Valley Group.

However, the legal process undertaken by the opposing shareholders to try to make sure that their votes as shareholders in Dee Valley Group be recognised has taken up a significant amount of time and energy for those employees of the Company and members of the community in north east Wales who, as the High Court acknowledged, had a genuine belief that the takeover of the Company by Severn Trent should be defeated for the greater good of the community at large.  After much consideration, the opposing shareholders have decided that it is now appropriate to end their legal challenge to the takeover so that the uncertainty which has been hanging over employees and our local community for some time can come to an end.

The opposing shareholders note that further discussions have been held with Severn Trent Water in the last week and that, in those discussions, Severn Trent Water indicated that it does not want Dee Valley staff to lose their jobs and that Seven Trent understood that this is an emotional time for employees and for the local community and that no action would be taken against those who opposed its takeover.  We would ask our supporters to maintain their support and input in this process so that we can ensure that, following the takeover by Severn Trent Water, the best possible outcome for Dee Valley’s staff, customers, suppliers and the local community is achieved.

We would like to thank our local community, Llyr Gruffydd AM, Susan Elan Jones MP, Ian Lucas MP, Ken Skates AM, Jo Stevens MP and their teams for their tremendous support through what has been a difficult time for us.  We would also like to thank James Potts QC and the legal team at Walker Morris LLP for the effort they put into representing us in the High Court proceedings and to Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, for his time considering our case.

The employees of Dee Valley Group are proud to be part of a successful and independent organisation that has served the local community well for 150 years.  Although this is not the outcome that the opposing shareholders would have wanted, we sincerely hope that Seven Trent Water can retain the local workforce and suppliers.  We wish the Company every success under its new ownership in continuing to provide the high levels of service to the community we care so strongly about.

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