What I want to hear at the American Water Summit

Published November 9th, 2017

Cg head

Insight from Christopher Gasson, GWI publisher

The US water market has become pretty perplexing this year. There is a lot going on, but in contradictory directions. On the one hand, the official statistics on market spend look extremely grim, but on the other hand, traded companies are reporting pretty buoyant results. We have seen a return to fashion of water pure-plays on the equipment side (with Evoqua’s IPO and Pentair’s decision to spin off its non-core assets), set against the absorption of large specialist engineering firms into much larger groups. In Washington there is still talk of using private finance to drive infrastructure investment, but this week, Congress has been debating a tax bill which makes it impossible for the private sector to compete on a level playing field with the public sector by restricting access to tax-exempt finance. On the industrial side, most sectors apart from oil and gas are reporting growth, but from a water perspective, that market is looking pretty strong. It makes life very difficult for anyone working on a budget for next year – and for me, because I am due to give a webinar to WaterData subscribers next Tuesday outlining what the market can expect. Our research staff have pulled together some pretty good material, but really I would prefer to be giving the presentation after the American Water Summit.

We finalised the line-up for the opening session this week, and these are the issues I am hoping to see addressed:

The person who I am relying on to get answers out of all these people is Debra Coy, who is chairing the opening session. She a partner with XPV Water Partners, the largest water-focused growth equity fund in the US, having previously been the most respected voice on Wall Street talking about water. It is up to her to uncover where the value lies in all of this.