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Budapest in talks to take over waterworks company

The Budapest City Council is in talks to buy out the minority foreign owners of the Budapest waterworks Fovarosi Vizmuvek, but no major progress has been achieved yet, the business daily Vilaggazdasag said on Monday.

Fovarosi Vizmuvek is 73.6% owned by the Budapest City Council and Hungariaviz, jointly owned by RWE Auqa of Germany and Suez Environnement of France, holds 23.65% of the shares. RWE Auqa and Suez own an additional 0.87% each, and the remaining shares are owned by five local councils around Budapest.

The paper notes that the municipality of Paris took over water supply services from the parent company of Suez Environnement 18 months ago, and announced the first reduction in the capital's water fees since 1985 just last week.

Spokesperson of the Budapest city management centre Annamaria Szucs confirmed the report on the talks, but would not provide any further information to the paper.

The Budapest Council is in talks with other owners regarding the stake held in the waterworks as well as in other fields, but the talks has not reached the stage of a making a proposal, Norbert Boross, representing RWE Hungaria told the daily. RWE holds stakes in several Budapest utilities companies.