March 18, 2020 / 4:18 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-British utility Pennon to divest waste management unit in $5 bln deal

(Adds detail, background)

March 18 (Reuters) - UK's Pennon Group said on Wednesday it would sell its waste management business to private equity firm KKR & Co Inc in a 4.2 billion pounds ($4.95 billion) deal, as it seeks to reduce debt and focus on its water division.

The sale, unanimously agreed by Pennon's board, will result in net cash proceeds of 3.7 billion pounds, the company said.

"On completion of the transaction, Pennon will continue to focus on its sector-leading water and wastewater businesses," Chief Executive Officer Chris Loughlin said regarding the sale of the unit, Viridor.

The owner of Britain's South West Water said it expects to complete the divestiture this summer, subject to European Commission's clearance, among others.

Pennon, which had a total debt of 3.3 billion pounds at the end of September, had been undertaking a strategic review of its business.

The Telegraph reported in January that KKR had attempted to buy Viridor in 2019, but was turned down by Pennon.

$1 = 0.8486 pounds Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shinjini Ganguli

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