- From: Vol 11, Issue 3 (March 2010)
- Category: Need to know
- Region: Unspecified
- Country: Australia, Japan and United Kingdom
- Related Companies: Acciona, ACWA Power, Ebara, JGC Corporation, Mitsubishi, United Utilities and United Utilities Contract Solutions
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* The Japanese export technology development organisation NEDO held a wellattended symposium in Tokyo last month in a bid to get local water companies to do more overseas.
Despite more than 1,200 attendees, there was a certain skepticism among many of the executives present about the wisdom of making a big push internationally while the yen is so strong. Nevertheless, JGC Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation followed up with an announcement that they were each to take 33% stakes in Ebara Engineering Service in order to help the company expand overseas. EES is the closest Japan has to a homegrown private water operator with EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) expertise.
* Japanese membrane manufacturer Toyobo also showed its enthusiam for international markets. It announced a deal to assemble membrane elements in Saudi Arabia with ACWA Power Holdings.
* Meanwhile, United Utilities is busily trying to withdraw from many of its internation possessions. There has been intense interest in its Australian operating company. Acciona or Mitsubishi probably need the deal most.
* UU’s other sale is not going so well. It is currently trying to offload its UK-based utilities subcontracting business, United Utilities Contract Solutions, but it looks likely that the price will fall well below expectations. Two trade buyers are said to be working on due diligence, but the company may only be worth a fraction of the £500 million UU was looking for.