Insights

One step backwards may be two steps forward for Saudi privatisation programme

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the privatisation of Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation will not go ahead as planned next year. Although there has been no official announcement, and the consultants are continuing to work on the project, the enthusiasm for breaking up and selling off the largest desalting company in the world has...

California versus capitalism

Poseidon Resources’ decision to apply for an extra $50 million of private activity bonds caught my eye. It also seems to have captured the imagination of California’s media, but for quite different reasons. I was interested primarily because I am intrigued by how Poseidon is going to make a return that justifies the fantastic risks it has had to take on in...

Can consolidation be made to work in the water business?

Consolidators have not done well in water in recent years. USFilter was built up into a $5 billion behemoth before being broken up by Veolia into five different parts. Severn Trent Services has followed a similar path of build-up followed by sell-off. The latest company to try a roll-up in the water sector is GLV (TSX: GLV.A and GLV.B), whose bid for Christ Water...

The $30 billion glass ceiling

With four months left to go before the deadline for contracting projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, less than 10% of the funds earmarked for water and wastewater projects have been allocated. This is in line with industry reports that so far the impact of the stimulus has been to stall expenditure rather than to let it flow.

This was an impact...