A WATER company supplying millions of customers in the UK has received a takeover approach from a Hong Kong-based investment firm.

Northumbrian Water, which supplies 2.6m people in the North East and another 1.8m through Essex & Suffolk Water, has received a proposal from Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, which is controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Cheung, which is said to have tabled a £2bn bid, already owns Cambridge Water and has a 4.75% stake in Southern Water. It also owns stakes in the Northern Gas distribution network and electricity generator Seabank Power.