Insights

Utah tar sands

For those worried about the day when the oil wells run dry, the potential for oil extraction from the Utah tar sands looks like a bright opportunity. The oil sands in Canada have become one of the richest supplies of oil in the world and have raised interest in U.S. deposits. As companies eye potential opportunities in Utah, which contains the largest U.S. tar sands,...

The tantalising prospect of export growth

We were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the international trade category this week. It is something that the British government does to encourage exporters, and involves a visit to Buckingham Palace and the right to use the Queen’s Award logo on our stationery.

Needless to say it does not mean much to our readers because 95% of you are outside...

Water meets money meets street protest

GWI’s Global Water Summit in Berlin earlier this week hit the big time. We attracted a street protest. It may have been quite small (only about 20 people) and well behaved (there were three policemen but no tear gas), but it puts our event right up there with the G8, the World Economic Forum and Bilderberg.

It seems that the thing which they were most excited...

Can Pentair buy X-Flow’s people as well?

Pentair’s acquisition of Norit’s clean process technologies (CPT) division looks like a fair deal for both sides. The price (€503 million or 2.3x 2010 revenues) was steep, but not so expensive that the company is doomed to be crushed by expectations in the same way that Zenon was crushed by GE’s expectations after the latter paid 2.9x revenues for...

Is Heckmann addicted to acquisitions?

Dick Heckmann is the king of acquisitions. His legendary success at US Filter was built on the backs of more than 200 acquisitions that were then packaged and sold to Veolia in 1999 (or Vivendi as it was then) for $6.2 billion. At times he was buying a company (or two) each week.

 
Now as chairman and CEO of Heckmann Corporation, he is getting back into the swing...

Customer satisfaction beats cheap water

I was in Riyadh this week for a presentation by the National Water Company on its performance in 2010. Anyone unconvinced by what private sector participation can do for a water utility should take a look at the transformation which the company has brought about in the standard of water services in Jeddah and Riyadh.

I will be writing in depth about the company, and its...