ASIA WATER IN BRIEF

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The International Finance Corporation is considering an investment of up to $17 million in Norwegian desalination company Aqualyng in order to support the development of its Chinese business.

 * The listing application for the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has been given “in principle” approval by the new Cambodian stock exchange, with an IPO scheduled to take place in the first quarter of this year.

 
* Japanese investment fund INCJ is very keen to add to its international water holdings by buying utility assets in the UK. The $1.4 billion fund already holds stakes in Australia’s Trility and Aguas Nuevas in Chile, although its best chance of entering the UK may be to buy Veolia Water’s regulated business, which is currently up for sale.
 
* Embattled Kuala Lumpur water concessionaire Puncak Niaga saw its share price leap by more than 30% on 9th February, apparently on no hard news. There are rumours, however, that the company might be taken private.
 
* In response to India’s newly announced draft water policy, the Tamil Nadu government has announced its intention to revise its state water policy, promising to restrict the use of groundwater by industrial users. The new water resources management act in Rajasthan, meanwhile, will come into force later this year.
 
* Water concessionaires in Jakarta are hoping that a new chief for Pam Jaya, the former public utility and government signatory to the PPP contracts, will help move forward the rate rebasing process. Sri Kedari took over the job in January from Mauritz Napitupulu. Pam Jaya has been arguing for a ‘rebalancing’ of the contracts, which would involve a reduction in the contracted rate of return. Relations between the parties deteriorated during Mauritz’s tenure, prompting Jakarta’s governor to shift him out of the post.
 
* Bangkok-listed Universal Adsorbents & Chemicals is entering the water sector through a joint venture for water supply in north-eastern Thailand. UAC will invest THB100 million ($3.2 million) initially in a 12,000m3/d plant with potential for a second phase that would double capacity.