Watershare + - South West Water Share offer

Hi
I'm a Southwest water customer and today received the following email saying i can have £20 credit or £20 worth of shares.  It looks legit, I've checked their website directly.  I'm not desperate for the £20 so was thinking of taking the shares, but know nothing about buying or owning shares so wondered if there was anyone on here that might be able to offer any guidance.  Anything i need to check on etc?  Looks like nothing to loose as i'm not paying out anything but as i don't really know much i'm not sure.  Thanks for any input.

WaterShare+  –  helping customers to share in our success and have more of a say

I am pleased to announce that South West Water will soon be sharing approximately £20 million with our customers, as well as giving you the option to have a greater say in our business.

This is all part of our new WaterShare+ scheme, unique to South West Water, developed in direct response to your feedback. We’ve been listening.

What does this mean for you?

This means that every customer will soon be able to benefit to the value of £20. You can choose to receive your £20 as either

  • a credit on your water bill1  – sharing in our success
  • or applying to take shares in our parent company, Pennon Group Plc, the UK based company that owns South West Water – making you a shareholder

What do you need to do?

If you’d like to receive your £20 as a credit on your water bill, then you don’t need to do anything. We’ll automatically credit your account in October, and you will see it detailed on the first bill you receive from us after this.

If you are interested in applying to become a shareholder, you will need to register online and carefully read all of the information contained in the prospectus. Customers should not apply to acquire Pennon shares under the WaterShare+ scheme except on the basis of the information contained in the prospectus published by Pennon. You may also wish to consult an authorised financial advisor.

The content of this letter is to provide information only and should not be considered as a recommendation.

How to apply for shares2

If you want to register for Pennon shares you must apply online by visiting WaterShare+ and entering the details below.

Registration closes on 9 October 2020 and any customers registering for shares after that date will not receive shares but will receive a £20 credit to their water bill.

Giving everyone more of a say

As part of WaterShare+, we’ll also be giving all customers another way to have a greater say, by having the opportunity to meet in public with a new independent WaterShare+ Advisory Panel.

Customers will also be able to meet regularly with us and attend Customer Annual General Meetings where they can find out more about how South West Water is delivering for customers, communities and delivering our ‘New Deal’ business plan 2020-25.

I have included some further information below and you can find out more by visiting WaterShare+.

Yours sincerely

Susan Davy

CEO, Pennon and South West Water

1 If you pay by Direct Debit you could opt to have a refund direct to your bank account.

2 References to the customer share offer (the “Offer”) in Pennon Group Plc (“Pennon”) herein are an advertisement and not a prospectus for the purposes of the EU Prospectus Regulation. The references to the Offer, which have been prepared by and are the sole responsibility of Pennon, have been approved solely for the purposes of section 21 of the FSMA by Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”). Barclays, whose registered address is at 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Barclays is acting exclusively for Pennon and for no-one else in relation to or in connection with the Offer and will not be responsible to anyone other than Pennon for the protections offered to clients of Barclays and is not providing, and will not provide, advice in relation to the Offer or any related matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WaterShare+?

WaterShare+ is our unique scheme for 2020-25 which shares our success with customers alongside giving customers a greater say in our business. During 2015-20 we outperformed our business plan through the existing WaterShare scheme which means we are now able to share that success.

As well as being our continued way of sharing any future success, WaterShare+ will also give customers a greater say by having the opportunity to attend meetings in public with the independent WaterShare+ Advisory Panel and our leadership team. Customers will be able to attend our new Customer Annual General Meeting to hear about how we are delivering for customers, communities and the environment and be able to ask questions about any aspect of our business.

The WaterShare+ Advisory Panel is there to protect the interests of our customers by providing an independent review of all elements of the 'New Deal' business plan 2020-25, including the achievement or otherwise of our business plan commitments and Board Pledges.

Who is Pennon Group?

Pennon Group plc owns South West Water as well as other companies such as Bournemouth Water and Pennon Water Services. It is a public limited company (plc), and its shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange. Pennon is based in Exeter. For information visit Pennon Group Plc and the prospectus published by Pennon in respect of the share option. Customers should not elect to acquire Pennon shares except on the basis of the information contained in the prospectus published by Pennon.

Why am I getting this £20?

In our five-year business plans, we commit to sharing our success with customers. Thanks to our performance between 2015 to 2020, we will be sharing approximately £20 million with customers. This is part of our WaterShare+ scheme, which enables our customers a greater say in the company and how we are run.

Will I still get £20 if I owe you money from unpaid bills?

Yes, we want to share our success with customers, it is still available to you.

We can also help you if you are struggling to pay your water bills – please let us know as various support schemes are available. If you are struggling to pay your water bills, then it is unlikely that the share option is the right choice for you.

Do I have to pay tax on my £20?

No. However, if you choose the share option – you may have to pay capital gains tax if you make a profit above a certain limit when you sell shares. There could also be other tax consequences, for example in connection with any dividends declared on the shares. Individual circumstances will vary, and you may wish to seek qualified independent financial advice. Customers should not elect to acquire Pennon shares except on the basis of the information contained in the prospectus which will be issued by Pennon in due course. Further information in respect of the tax consequences of electing the share option are available in the prospectus.

How does the share scheme work?

If you choose the share option, your £20 will be used to purchase shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. The number of shares will be rounded up to the nearest whole number, which means you will get a minimum of £20 worth of shares, and may get shares worth more than £20, based on the value at the time the shares are acquired. The shares will be acquired by Link Market Services Trustees Limited, part of Link Market Services, Pennon’s share registrar, who will hold the shares on behalf of participating customers. Customers will then receive dividends and hold voting rights in Pennon Group on the Pennon shares they acquire and be sent quarterly statements on how those shares are performing.

The share scheme is online only - customers need to provide an email address and bank account details. This will allow company reports and dividends to be delivered and processed electronically.

For the Pennon shares option, please be aware that terms, conditions and risks apply. This service is only available to individual household customers, where the individual is at least 18 years old and a resident in the United Kingdom, is a UK tax resident only, is not a tax resident in any other jurisdiction and is not a US citizen. Please note, nothing in this letter should be taken as a recommendation to take any particular action. Customers should not elect to acquire Pennon shares except on the basis of the information contained in the prospectus published by Pennon.

Please note that the value of shares and any income derived from them can either decrease or increase, and you may not get back your original investment. If you are in any doubt as to what action to take, please contact an authorised financial advisor.

Can I sell Pennon shares I received under WaterShare+?

Yes, you can, see prospectus for full terms and conditions.

Can I buy more shares?

Yes, you can, see prospectus for full terms and conditions.

What happens if I move house or stop being an account holder after the scheme has started?

If you move to a new home after you have registered your choice during the registration period, then don’t worry. You are still entitled to the £20 credit on your account. You will still also be eligible for the Pennon shares option, provided your new home is in the United Kingdom and you continue to meet the other eligibility criteria for shares.

If you opt for shares – these will be yours until you decide to sell them even if you no longer live in the south west region. However, customers should not elect to acquire Pennon shares except on the basis of the information contained in the prospectus and should make themselves aware of certain restrictions that may apply should they hold shares outside the United Kingdom.

I pay by Direct Debit, can I have my £20 refunded to my bank account?

Yes, please register your choice on WaterShare+ or ring 0344 346 1010 to tell us. Please have this letter handy as you will need your Customer Number.

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Replies

  • The difficulty is that it is a very small amount. You might get dividends of less than a pound a year and if you want to sell them it might cost £5-£10 to sell them I'd take the cash if I were you.
  • ShedmanShedman Forumite
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    I'd agree...take the cash or the credit on your bill.  I looked at Pennon share performance (maybe 20-25% up over last 3 years ) but if would have to rocket or we'd have get shares every year to make it worthwhile.  Still not to sniff at it...£20 helps pay for the extra water the garden's needed this year 
  • BoanergesBoanerges Forumite
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    Life's too short to peel a Kiwi fruit...  I'm not quite sure what Pennon Group plc are playing at here. They've relatively recently divested themselves of Viridor and made a packet (Bought for £28.7m in 1993; sold for £4.2bn in 2020*), so they are now a dull but worthy UtilityCo again, sitting on a hefty cash pile and yielding 4.4%. They say they will consider other investments, but no details yet. Not a bad place to start an adventure into share ownership, Jezzabell, but not this way! You will end up with a nominee holding worth a very few quid that will take you a relatively large amount of hassle to look after as time passes.  It won't be sheltered in a stocks and shares ISA (there is some excellent stuff on these elsewhere on MSE).  Sure, you can add to the holding if you wish, but by doing so you will lose the the ability to transfer or liquidate your little portfolio for no fee.  Link Asset Services will charge you a not inconsiderable £32.50 minimum trading commission.

    Fidelity Fiduciary? Not in this case. Go, feed the birds instead.

    * They did invest in it extensively along the way, e.g. in a series of ERF (Energy Recover Facilities - Rubbish Incinerators to you and me.)
  • steampoweredsteampowered Forumite
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    It is not worth the bother of holding £20 worth of shares.

    You should hold shares, as part of a balanced approach to long term wealth. If you have a pension you will already hold shares. But you should hold them in decent amounts and in a diversified way (e.g. through an investment fund) - don't try to own shares in specific companies unless you know what you are doing.
  • leshoopers11leshoopers11 Forumite
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    I am also a customer of South West Water.  To be honest I would rather they used their spare cash to do something about sewage spilling into the sea every time we have a little bit of rain! 
  • enthusiasticsaverenthusiasticsaver Forumite, Ambassador
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    I am a customer of SW Water and have had the same offer.  On the same day as the offer of £20 or shares they put my direct debit up by £20 a month. No wonder they are doing well as they continue to fleece their customers who have no option but to use them. No, I will not be taking the shares. 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free Wannabe, Budgeting and Banking and Savings and Investment boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
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  • JezzabellJezzabell Forumite
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    thanks all for your comments, they're really helpful.  Will probably just take the cash, they fleece me enough as it is!
  • easterbunnieasterbunni Forumite
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    If you really wanted the shares you could take the £20 credit then buy the same in T212 or something
  • NivNiv Forumite
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    The shares cost over £10 so you would end up with 1 share. Not worth the bother.
    YNWA

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  • WilkinsonMWilkinsonM Forumite
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    Niv said:
    The shares cost over £10 so you would end up with 1 share. Not worth the bother.
    Incorrect, read the FAQ’s
    ”If you choose the share option, your £20 will be used to purchase shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. The number of shares will be rounded up to the nearest whole number, which means you will get a minimum of £20 worth of shares, and may get shares worth more than £20, based on the value at the time the shares are acquired”

    With two of us on a water meter our monthly bill is around £20 so it’s  either free water for a month, which we wouldn’t notice, or, potentially greater than £20 if the share price remains over £10 plus negligible dividends paid April and September.  To my mind that’s maximising a £20 rebate.
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