Insights

What can we learn from Unilever about selling water?

I have been in Stockholm for the International Water Week these past few days. It is the place where NGOs, aid agencies, and academics go to trade ideas and fish for money. In the good old days, the kings of the place were the big bilateral donors, but no one in the public sector seems so generous these days. The new royalty at Stockholm are the corporate social...

When does rolling up the water sector make sense?

The reputation of Dick Heckmann, the impresario behind USFilter, sports equipment company K2 and Nuverra (the oil and gas water services business formerly known as Heckmann Corporation) has come under heavy fire recently.

First, as a result of the Siemens Water Technologies sale, there has been a lot more interest in what value was generated by the USFilter roll-up (SWT...

Can water solve America’s public pensions crisis?

For years American cities have been adding hidden liabilities to their balance sheets in the form of pension commitments. At the same time, the same cities have been adding hidden assets by understating the value of their water systems. Isn’t it time to match the two up and solve the problem?

Take the city of Philadelphia for example. It has built up a pension...

Does Orège break the rules for water start-ups?

The Orège IPO which priced today at €3.24 is one of the greatest votes of confidence in new water technologies in the past five years. The company, which made a loss of €2.4 million on revenues of €1.1 million in 2012, will start trading on the Paris NYSE Euronext exchange tomorrow with a market capitalisation of €57.7 million.

Before every...

What is the German for transparency?

The European Commission performed a curious U-turn last Friday on its proposed directive on concessions. The idea of the directive is to create a common framework for outsourced public services. Originally it was meant to cover all sectors including water, which represents nearly half of all concession-type contracts in Europe. On 21 June, the commissioner responsible,...

New applications underscore desal’s long term growth

The desalination market has been a tough place these last few years. 2012 was the most difficult year for the market since 2004. It will take until 2015 for new desal plant orders to reach the levels they were at in 2007. But despite these difficulties, a lot is changing beneath the surface.

During the boom years the main focus of technology development in desalination...