A joint venture between Ancala Partners and the Peel Group has bought a water network business from energy firm SSE.

Leep Utilities said it has reached an agreement to buy SSE Water from the FSTE 100 company for an undisclosed sum.

SSE Water owns water networks that supply around 20,000 customers across 28 sites in southern England and Wales. It is the largest new appointments and variations (NAV) company operating in the UK’s water sector.

Leep currently owns and operates regulated and non-regulated utility networks, including electricity, water and district heating networks, with a portfolio of sites across the country.

Louise Manfredi, the managing director at Leep Utilities, said: “This purchase will make Leep the leading new NAV operator in the UK market and the transaction speaks to the high conviction that we have in the benefits that successful NAV operators can deliver to UK developers, customers and society.”

Spence Clunie, a managing partner at Ancala Partners, said: “NAV companies are currently under-represented compared to incumbents in the market for new water connections in the UK.

”We have high conviction in the growth of the NAV market and Ofwat’s initiatives to encourage a successfully functioning NAV market should support the growth of the SSE Water business.”

David Glover, operations director at the Peel Group and chairman of Leep, said: “This latest initiative with SSE Water is another example of how the Leep team is proving itself to be highly adept at identifying and securing exciting opportunities that deliver benefits for all stakeholders.”