Global Water Intelligence Magazine

Mar 18 cover

Vol 19, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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In Global Water Intelligence this month

Need to know

Totally hyflucked
  • Singapore’s Hyflux is running out of financing options, after reporting a disastrous set of 2017 results. These showed that the company lost S$37.6 million on its main operations, and a further S$...
  • The tide of red ink on Hyflux’s balance sheet means that the company is in no position to redeem S$400 million of preference shares used to fund the Tuaspring project. As a result...
Seller's market
  • German specialty chemicals group Lanxess has put its liquid purification technologies division up for sale. The business has revenues of around €200 million, 90% of which come from ion exchange resins. The company also has a successful reverse osmosis membranes business which targets the industrial process water market...
  • Italmatch, the specialist chemical company with strength in phosphates, is likely to be put up for sale later this year by its private equity owner...
  • American Water is rumoured to be looking to sell...
Desperate buyers
  • Sun Capital has completed the sale of Aclara to electrical equipment manufacturer Hubbell Incorporated for $...
  • AquaVenture has agreed to buy Abengoa’s 56% stake in the troubled Nungua desalination plant for a base price of $26 million. The final price will depend on...
Cover stories
  • When Eric Thornburg moved from Connecticut Water to San Jose Water last September, GWI didn’t believe the cover story that he just wanted to be closer to his daughter in California. Our scepticism proved correct...
  • The deal would also create a unique opportunity for investors who want exposure to two of the most hostile regulatory regimes in the US...
  • Energy Recovery CEO Joel Gay resigned suddenly at the end of February, citing “the need to attend to personal family matters”. Sceptics suggest that the real reason was that the company...
  • The government of Gabon seized the assets of Société d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon at gunpoint after a dispute with 51% shareholder Veolia turned sour...
  • Back home, Veolia is to investigate an allegation in the French press that two employees tried to pay €...
Money in
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had a record year of lending to water and wastewater projects in 2017...
  • Italy’s 50 largest water utilities boosted their revenues by 14.7% to €...
  • Ivory Coast is using private finance to meet its CFA1,300 billion ($2.4 billion) water investment needs...
  • Abu Dhabi has merged its water utility and sector regulator...
  • DC Water’s former CEO George Hawkins has joined...
2017 Results Round-Up

Acquisitive water technology groups Xylem and Evoqua came out at the head of the pack in the 2017 full-year results season, with...

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

Cape Town delays Day Zero; Hunter Water’s meticulous planning; Thames gives up on desal; Jordan re-thinks Red-Dead plans; Colombian concession attracts international big-hitters; Fixing damaged goods in Spain and Iraq; NJ deals up for renewal; all the latest project news from around the...


GWI Water Index

Take on water or take on capital

Hyflux, FCC and Sabesp are all looking to take on external capital. Meanwhile, the bubble could be about to burst for Californian regulated water utilities.

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

The world’s biggest water project developers

More than half of the world’s biggest developers of privately financed projects are Chinese. Have they now outgrown the local market?


Christopher gasson Is this the moment for finance?

Christopher Gasson on the thinking behind GWI’s latest report.

Chart of the month

Aid flows

This month’s chart comes from the OECD’s database of official development assistance.

Chart of the month


Water Leaders

Leading water’s fightback against climate change in Southern California

While the state-wide drought in California eased last year, the picture in the south is as tough as ever. With wildfires raging and utilities under pressure, Metropolitan Water District boss Jeff Kightlinger tells GWI’s Samantha Yates how the region plans to build its way out of drought.

Being the best in the world is not our job

Singapore PUB’s chief executive Peter Ng has another goal in mind: being the best for Singapore. It means pursuing impossible performance targets, pushing the boundaries of technology, and still worrying about how to win the trust of customers.




Chief Technology Officer

User Perspectives

Puma takes the lead with supply chain sustainability strategy

The ubiquitous German sportswear brand is at the forefront of the changes being brought about in the textiles industry. GWI probes its relationship with a vast supply chain and its plans to coordinate a major evolution in water and wastewater treatment techniques.

Smart Water Watch

Innovyze touts asset management as the next big thing

The hydraulic modelling specialist is taking on the biggest trends in the digital water industry. What opportunities does it see away from its traditional areas of expertise?

CTO Outlook

A dual approach to innovating in water

Hitachi’s water business unit is trying to make a splash in desalination and the digital sector. GWI talks to its technology advisor Koichi Tsuzuki about the company’s two-pronged strategy of innovative treatment techniques and harnessing the Internet of Things.

See the latest technology updates on the Chief Technology Officer Homepage...


Californian water utilities see the darker side of decoupling

Decoupling volumetric water sales from revenues has resulted in reduced revenue volatility. It is now about to feed through into dramatic cuts in the sector’s return on equity.

Seven Seas pounces on Abengoa’s troubled desal plant in Ghana

The purchase of the Nungua desalination plant in Africa marks a change of tack for Nasdaq-listed AquaVenture Holdings. With the stock down 25% since the company’s 2016 IPO, is it the right deal at the right time?

Ecosphere’s Ozonix IP on the block

The technology development and licensing company has moved to sell its Ozonix advanced oxidation process.

ERI quashes sale rumours after CEO shuffle

Observers were quick to connect the surprise departure of Joel Gay last month with the delayed commercialisation of Energy Recovery’s VorTeq product, fanning rumours of a possible takeover by Schlumberger. New CEO Chris Gannon sets the record straight.

Water Planet eyes the next big thing in water

Having spun off its membrane manufacturing division, where can the California-based company go next? GWI speaks to CEO Eric Hoek.

$1.1bn Aclara acquisition propels Hubbell into smart water

Private equity firm Sun Capital looks to have made a spectacular return on its investment in Aclara, while providing buyer Hubbell Incorporated with a coveted smart utility offering. Is the electrical equipment giant committed to its new-found water exposure?

Aegea hits the big time with Manaus deal

With elections looming in Brazil, greenfield expansion opportunities in water service provision are few and far between. Aegea Saneamento’s latest bid to join the big league will see it acquire a former Suez concession with a colourful history.

Debra coy Making water the hot trend

It’s time for water leaders to shift to the demand side of the business equation, argues Debra Coy.

Americas in brief

The snowpack in California stood at just 40% of normal as GWI went to press, little more than two weeks out from the key 1st April season’s end.

Asia pacific

Hyflux asset sale delays may endanger future debt raising

Hyflux has accepted an S$8 million-a-year step-up in interest payments as its asset sales continue to flounder. Financial losses of S$116 million give it little bargaining power.

The twisted tale of Tuaspring

Hyflux’s fortunes are tied to that of its largest asset: Asia’s first IWPP. What was meant to be the firm’s crowning glory has decimated its market value. What happens next?

New Thai investment sees Manila Water take its industrial water expertise overseas

The Filipino company is taking its search for opportunities on the industrial side abroad, by buying stakes in companies in Thailand and Indonesia. The former will give it access to a huge growth market, although competition will be fierce.

Hunter Water kicks off desal design tender

A staged approach to a conceptual seawater desalination project could provide valuable lessons for other vulnerable communities.

Asia Pacific in brief

Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries has announced the sale of its municipal water assets in South Africa for ZAR790 million ($67 million), to a consortium led by a local infrastructure fund.

Willy yeo A recipe for Chinese success

Attracting the right partner is crucial to navigating China’s political minefield, but not everyone has what it takes, explains Willy Yeo.


Suez turns the corner and re-assigns responsibilities

The 2017 results were dreary, but the way is now open to return to profitable growth. GWI speaks to Suez top brass about how the reorganised company fits together.

Making the most of Suez’s new WTS unit

Marie-Ange Debon explains how the Suez Water Technologies & Solutions division will work.

Prioritising savings over synergies

Christopher Gasson looks at the imperfect logic of Suez’s latest restructuring, and looks for the upside that investors so badly need.

EBRD steps up its green economy transition as water lending rises to record levels

A growing emphasis on environmental sustainability underpinned an impressive array of big-ticket deals for the bank last year. It is getting increasingly smart when it comes to maximising the impact of its water investments.

EBRD enhances its refugee response

The EBRD is not the first multilateral to rise to the challenge of helping refugees and their host communities. Water and wastewater infrastructure are a primary focus.

Organica looks to expand digital capabilities

A new funding round will enable the decentralised plant supplier to take its home-grown digital offering to a wider audience.

Italy’s water utilities invest record amounts

New figures presented last month show the benefits of a single regulator for water in Italy. A strategic national vision is still missing.

Lanxess puts its water division on the block

The German group is looking to sell its ion exchange and membrane treatment businesses. One is growing much faster than the other.

David lloyd owen Life’s a beach for planners

David Lloyd Owen looks at investment in beachside clean-ups, and how it may not be paying off in terms of tackling illness.

Europe in brief

AIM-listed leak detection specialist Water Intelligence has raised £4.2 million via a placing and subscription, whilst agreeing to buy out two of its American Leak Detection franchises in the United States for $1.9 million.

Middle East and Africa

Abu Dhabi brings regulation in-house in sectoral reshuffle

The emirate’s water and power bodies are being brought under one umbrella. While the centralised approach will allow it to create a strategy for its changing energy mix, the removal of an independent regulator may raise some eyebrows.

Advisors to grapple with Saudi PPP issues

A new team of consultants is aiming to make a breakthrough on privatisation in the Kingdom. It will not be an easy task.

Diplomatic dispute scuppers cross-border Red Sea-Dead Sea project hopes

With negotiations over a water swap deal with Israel on ice, Jordan has outlined a new plan that will lean on increased groundwater pumping and internal water transfer, as well as desalination, to tackle the water crisis in the north of the country. Does it make sense?

Ghana Water delivers ultimatum to central government over desal plant

With the project company for a privately held 60,000m3/d desalination plant in Ghana about to change hands, there has never been a better time to renegotiate the terms of the offtake contract. How much wriggle room is there?

Ivory Coast turns to PPPs to meet water demand

The West African country has signed MoUs for two water treatment PPPs. Are privately financed desalination plants next?

Ivory Coast utility Sodeci outlines its plans to tackle NRW

High physical water losses are no longer acceptable as new treatment plants come online. A 12-year tariff freeze is unlikely to help.

Congo reform paves the way for affermage

A change in the way the country delivers public services could provide an opportunity for a new private water contract. What’s the catch?

Gabon seeks a new international water PPP

Weeks after expropriating Veolia, the government is already looking for a new private water operator. Political risk insurance is a must.

Middle East in brief

Riyadh-based water and power project developer ACWA Power has taken on JPMorgan and Citigroup to arrange an IPO of the company, a process that could start before the end of the year. ACWA Power aims to raise up to $1 billion through the sale of a 30% stake in the company.

Tom scotney Six of the best in Paris

Tom Scotney looks at some of the key questions to be asked – and answered – at the Global Water Summit in Paris this year.