- From: Vol 9, Issue 6 (June 2008)
- Category: Need to know
- Region: Unspecified
- Country: France, Italy and United States
- Related Companies: Enia, Hera, Saur, Suez Environment , Veolia Water North America and Veolia Water Solution & Technologies
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* Suez Environnement (as it now wishes to be known in English), has set the date of 22 July for its debut on the stock exchange.
The news coincides with the rumour that Suez Group could be poised to increase its interest in Rome-based Acea from 8.6% to as much as 40% (see story p21) as a result of a gas distribution asset swap. Acea has partnered with Suez Environnement to pursue water contracts outside the capital, but its main business is serving Rome with electricity and water. If the Acea deal goes ahead, one can imagine a lot of dotted lines on the organigramme between it, GdF Suez and Suez Environnement.
* The opportunity for Suez to swap its Roman gas distribution assets arises from the three-way merger of Italian multi- utilities Enìa, Hera and Iride. The merger will create the second-largest water utility in Italy, distributing 1.23 million m3/d. Unfortunately for water investors, the new company will be anything but a pure-play. Only 11% of revenues will come from water distribution.
* France’s number three water company Saur has also been indulging in a little corporate restructuring. Séché Environnement, which owns 33% of the holding company for Saur, has obtained an option to acquire a further 18%. If it were to exercise this option, France’s wastewater king, Joël Séché, will be in a position to increase his control of the business to 100% (see story p21).
* Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies has also developed a strong taste for the wastewater business. Its latest acquisition is New Jersey-based Biothane Corporation. It is a specialist in anaerobic wastewater treatment, and is well positioned for the nascent biogas from wastewater business. The company has revenues of USD70 million, with 500 installations. At the moment, its main customer base is in industry, particularly where the wastewater has a high biological load. VWS believes that the company has strong potential in China and India, as well as in the municipal market. “What I expect is that due to strong energy prices, this technology will come from being a niche market to a major market within a couple of years,” VWS CEO Jean-Michel Herrewyn told GWI.
* Veolia Water North America, meanwhile, is learning to live with its new boss Laurent Auguste. Last month, he sent all employees the kind of letter which had them reaching for the situations vacant column. “I highly value transparency and open communication,” he began. “In this light, I want to be quite transparent that there will be some level of organisational change ahead.” He then introduces the driver of the change: the Balanced Scorecard. The explanation requires complicated business school diagrams and opaque prose. No doubt staff will understand it all quite quickly, and in no time they will be referring to the initiative by its initials.