Global Water Intelligence Magazine


Vol 17, Issue 7 (July 2016)

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In Global Water Intelligence this month

Need to know

Buyers and sellers
  • German family office SKion has made an audacious Can$185 million (€130 million) bid for Ovivo...
  • By taking Ovivo private, SKion – and its co-partner la Caisse (an Ovivo stockholder since 1992) clearly see value where others do not. The shares have long been undervalued on the public exchanges...
  • H2O Innovation has bought Utility Partners, the contract operations business set up by former Southwest Water employee Bob Monette...
  • Forterra, the former Hanson subsidiary which bulked up its water division by buying U.S. Pipe for $775 million in April, has filed for an initial public offering in the US. 92% of the group’s $...
  • A further IPO prospect is Georgian Global Utilities (GGU), the private water operator serving the capital city of Tbilisi...
  • Chinese M&A activity has been on steroids over the past month, as deal after deal broke cover. Details of the $132 million sale of membrane manufacturer Scinor to Top Resource Conservation & Environment (which we flagged up in May) were particularly juicy...
  • Interest in acquiring overseas technology also shows no sign of abating. Shanghai Safbon has negotiated the purchase of a 22% stake in AquaSwiss, which deploys IDE’s technology in countries outside the Israeli company’s comfort zone...
  • The Philippines’ newest water project developer MetroPac Water Investments Corporation has bought 65% of commercial and industrial wastewater specialist ESTII...
  • Private equity capital has been flooding into the oilfield services market, with three bigticket commitments made in as many months...
Neologistic paraphasia
  • Bilfinger Water Technologies has been renamed Aqseptence Group following its recent take-over by Chengdu Techcent...
New angles
  • Private water supremo Carlos Cosín has set up his own business, Stakia4Water, after leaving Abengoa Water...
  • Entrepreneur Thomas Schumann is planning to launch a $100 million long-only hedge fund in September, which will seek to outperform the S&P Global Water Index through an actively managed portfolio of listed equities with significant water exposure...
Movers and waiters
  • The public works authority in Qatar has put the massive IDRIS sewerage scheme in South Doha on hold, stunning contractors working on the $2.7 billion wastewater handling and treatment programme...
  • Meanwhile, Singapore’s PUB unveiled plans for the US$4.8 million second phase of its Deep Tunnel Sewerage System. The wastewater treatment component is expected to include...
  • Singapore’s planning precision on DTSS 2 is in stark contrast to the disarray of Hanoi’s water supply plans. Lenders and developers alike have been left scratching their heads after an old water supply project was revived and awarded to a new group of investors without a tender...
  • Egypt has fast-tracked three desalination projects that had been languishing on the books of its PPP Central Unit. Despite herculean efforts, PPPs in Egypt have proved to be a frustratingly difficult prospect, and the authorities decided to bypass the need for competitive bidding by skipping the process altogether...
On the interstate
  • Both Veolia and American Water furthered their plans to move their North American headquarters this month...
  • Both companies have also witnessed major shake-ups of their North American business development staff. Veolia veteran Harald Jensen, who ran the water business development team in North America, has left the company...
  • Despite losing its water business development chief, Veolia North America did not skip a beat in renewing its $500 million 10-year contract to operate the wastewater infrastructure in Milwaukee, WI...

Project Tracker

Project Tracker

Charting the progress of over 900 Desal, Reuse and PPP water projects in the international water industry.

Download a sample

Latest Tracker Updates

Project Tracker Database
(Subscription Requried)
Hassyan SWRO... United Arab Emirates 21 Sep 18 The client has... Desal
Canoas WWTP Colombia 21 Sep 18 Proposals for ... Reuse
Lake Station... United States 20 Sep 18 The Indiana Ut... Utility
Sun Country ... United States 20 Sep 18 The bid submis... Utility
East Brandyw... United States 20 Sep 18 Sealed bids ar... Utility

What's making the news in global water projects this month

Project tracker

Mixed news for deep tunnel sewers; PUB’s closed-loop vision; Oman’s desal plans get even bigger; Egypt back-tracks on desal; Bangalore and Mumbai think big; industrial reuse in India; testing the limits of US water concessions; all the latest project news from around the world this...


GWI Water Index

Water stocks shrug off Brexit as defensive names rally

The uncertainty which followed June’s Brexit vote supported regulated water stocks in the UK and the US. There are signs that American Water’s rally could be running out of steam.

Water on the markets this month:

GWI IndexValueChangeDate
Global Water154.911.95%10 Aug
Asian Water98.010.41%10 Aug
EMEA Water91.372.17%10 Aug
Americas Water253.642.56%10 Aug

The List

Direct potable reuse projects

Working DPR projects are few and far between, despite the first plant having come online in 1968. Each initiative has faced a unique set of challenges.


Christopher gasson What does Brexit mean for water?

Christopher Gasson is pretty unhappy about last month’s referendum, but it could actually bring some good things to the water sector.

Chart of the month

Financing trends in water

This month’s chart comes from GWI’s Global Water Market 2017 report, and projects how the advance of independent financing sources will be key to supporting the growth of the water sector over the next five years.

Chart of the month july 2016


EPA data exposes weaknesses in municipal compliance

Nearly two thirds of major municipal wastewater facilities in the US are recorded as noncompliant by the EPA. The core data masks some important nuances.

Private equity money streams into multiservice oilfield water management

As drilling activity shows tentative signs of recovery in the US, private equity investors have ramped up support for a long-term approach to oilfield water management. Where will treatment and reuse feature in the infrastructure portfolio?

Shoring up the staffing shortage

Can a new contracting service fix an industry with an ageing workforce?

Milwaukee renewal reflects a more mature contract ops market

Despite racking up losses of $11 million under its existing wastewater operating contract in Milwaukee, Veolia has committed to stay on for another ten years. The renegotiated deal reflects a maturing of attitudes in the wider contract ops sector.

East Berlin’s lease deal hits the buffers after bidders fail to engage

A second water lease deal in Pennsylvania has hit the buffers after being deemed to small to be bankable. It is an important lesson in the bid to grow the market for water P3s in the US.

WSP bolsters its industrial capabilities as Schlumberger exits water

The Canadian professional services firm has taken a gamble on the timing of its first pure-play water acquisition. Has it succeeded in snapping up a bargain?

Santa Clara P3 shortlist catches the market by surprise

Questions have been raised over the methodology and the choice of shortlisted teams for a prospective $800 million reuse P3 in California. Is it just a case of sour grapes?

Brazil welcomes water tax credits

A new scheme which will generate BRL3 billion (US$913 million) of tax relief for water companies has been passed by the Senate. How meaningful will its impact be?

UK funding to support wastewater build-out in El Salvador

The Salvadoran government wants to rejuvenate a heavily polluted river basin by replicating the wastewater clean-up in neighbouring Nicaragua. The nature of a new funding agreement with the UK government could limit the level of competition.

Forterra seeks US IPO in a bid to supply the last mile of pipe

The former HeidelbergCement subsidiary has a new name, a new management team, and a motto to serve customers “from the first mile to the last mile”. How will the debt-laden company be received on the stock exchange?

Americas water in brief

On 20 July, the board of listed Mexican storage tank specialist Rotoplas approved the acquisition of 80% of Sytesa, which designs, constructs, finances and operates wastewater treatment and recycling plants in Mexico.

Debra coy Who ya gonna call?

Toxic slime in Florida is keeping the pressure on nutrient control at wastewater treatment plants, says Debra Coy.

Asia pacific

Oman-Vietnam group clinches Hanoi WTP without tender

A new group of investors has secured a licence for a water treatment plant in Hanoi, as the city continues to ignore the national PPP decree. Contaminated groundwater is driving short-term decision-making.

Vietnam’s PPP office soldiers on

Other cities are likely to follow Hanoi in eschewing competitive tenders for investment projects, while wastewater BOTs in HCMC are now likely to go ahead as DBOs.

Scinor shareholders fill their pockets in sale to Top Resource Conservation

Scinor founder Wu Hongmei is set to pocket $11 million in cash and $30 million in shares from the sale of her latest company to Top Resource Conservation, ten years after she sold CNC to Siemens.

MetroPac spreads its bets on wastewater markets with ESTII buy

ESTII ticks multiple boxes for MetroPac. Its exposure to commercial and industrial wastewater treatment brings access to a non-regulated growth market, while technological expertise may give it the edge in future sewerage concessions.

Indian government calls in TWIC ahead of Kanpur tannery BOOT

Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company has completed a detailed project report into a new CETP for a notorious tannery cluster in Kanpur. Industry support remains an issue, as the Tanneries Association campaigns against a zero liquid discharge order.

Safbon finalises MoU for 22% AquaSwiss stake

Shanghai Safbon Water Service has announced another European technology acquisition as it targets desalination markets overseas and zero liquid discharge at home.

Willy yeo Growing pains for trade shows

Expanding trade shows can mean shrinking cashflows for companies on the water circuit in Asia, argues Willy Yeo.

Asia water in brief

UF membrane manufacturer Tianjin Motimo has revealed that its suspension from trading since 20 May is related to investments in two firms. One is tubular ceramic membrane manufacturer Jiangsu Kaimi Membrane Technology, and the other is in a systems integrator in Western China, Gansu Jinqiao Water Technology.


Christopher gasson What does Brexit mean for water?

Christopher Gasson is pretty unhappy about last month’s referendum, but it could actually bring some good things to the water sector.

SKion’s audacious bid allows Ovivo to refocus on growth

After 30 years on the stock exchange, the Verreault family has finally bowed out of the water business by selling a slimmed-down Ovivo. What are the growth prospects?

SKion takes its water strategy to the next level with Ovivo buy

The investment vehicle of BMW heiress Susanne Klatten has kept a low profile since entering the water market in 2011. Its strategy will not change after buying Ovivo.

Johnson Matthey’s nascent water division seeks to build scale through acquisition

The back-to-back purchases of MIOX and Finex have reinforced Johnson Matthey’s ambitions of building a water chemistry platform. Is it late to the game?

Thames and Southern withdraw from retail competition as market realities bite

Two of the UK’s largest regulated water companies have announced plans to bow out of the English retail market before it opens for business next April. It is a stark reminder that Ofwat’s competition agenda is rapidly losing its appeal.

David lloyd owen Brexit and our waters

A return to Victorian values seems unlikely, even if Britain is going its own way, argues David Lloyd Owen.

Europe water in brief

The EIB’s lending pipeline in water has taken off this month.

Middle East and Africa

Iranian minister calls for international water tie-ups

Energy minister Hamid Chitchian is looking to forge links with the international water community as the market opens up. The country’s newly published development spending plan outlines the scale of the opportunities on offer.

Qatar halts flagship sewerage scheme

As Doha faces its first budget deficit for 15 years, infra spending is coming under scrutiny. A major sewerage scheme could be the first to be hit.

Tom scotney How to win work in Iranian water

The combination of sophistication and untapped opportunities makes Iran a complex but compelling market, says Tom Scotney.

Middle East water in brief

The developer of the $250 million Qurayyat desalination plant in Oman reached financial close on the project in June, 15 months after securing the BOO contract for the 200,000m³/d initiative.

World Bank makes a case for pipeless sanitation

Sewer services have often proved to be a pipe dream in Africa and other parts of the developing world. Could non-sewer sanitation programmes take their place – and engage the private sector at the same time?

Pace of development proves too slow for desalination PPPs in Egypt

Cairo has shifted responsibility for three long-standing desalination projects away from its PPP Central Unit, while one of its flagship schemes is struggling to reach financial close. The country still insists the long-term future of water PPPs is secure, however.

Moroccan audit office issues warning over ONEE finances

The Moroccan bulk water supplier has seen its debt pile creep up over the years. Further tariff reform may be needed to help stabilise its income.