Saunders set to turn hostile


ROBIN Saunders, the dynamic dealmaker from German bank WestLB, is still focusing her sights on water company AWG. She last week made informal overtures to AWG, which owns Anglian Water, but was rebuffed. WestLB is now mulling whether to back her in a hostile approach. Saunders' team has a war chest of up to £3bn at their disposal to buy companies.

The German bank's bid vehicle, Bream Investments, was set up by Gordon Morrison, brother of Sir Fraser Morrison. The siblings sold their Morrison Construction company to AWG for £263m in 2000.

Bream is ready to raise its £902m offer, sources claimed. Analysts value AWG at up to £1.2bn.

Saunders has already been involved in a number of high-profile deals, including a financing at Formula One and helping Philip Green to buy Bhs.

Britain's water industry has been gradually moving into the hands of private equity holders and foreign buyers since privatisation in the early Nineties.