To help combat the south’s driest spell of weather in nearly 100 years, Southern Water says it has more than doubled the number of leakage inspectors from 50 to 120. With operating profits of £181m on sales of £475m, margins at the West Sussex company were a buoyant 38% in 2005. The business, run by chief executive Les Dawson, supplies water to 1m households in southeast England and treats and recycles waste water from double that number. In April, the French utility group Veolia Environnement sold its 25% stake in the business to existing shareholders.
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