German utility RWE, owner of Worcester-based NPower, has had three indicative offers for Thames Water, the business it is trying to sell for £7 billion, sources said yesterday.
First-round offers came from financier Guy Hands' Terra Firma Capital Partners and a group led by investment bank UBS, which includes the bank's infrastructure fund and the Qatar government.
Australia's Macquarie Bank also made an offer but its consortium is said to be not fully in place.
Buyout firm 3i Group Plc and Canada's Borealis Infrastructure fund, which considered a bid did not make an offer.
RWE has not ruled out a market flotation of Thames, Britain's biggest operator which provides water to 13 million people and sewerage services to eight million in and around London.
Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, which are running the sale for RWE, are going ahead with the initial public offering process - due to culminate around November - while they consider bids for the company.