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2005 Water Business News

 

December, 2005

Watts Water buys firm for $94.5 million
Watts Water Technologies Inc., a provider of water safety and flow control products, said Thursday it agreed to buy Dormont Manufacturing Co. for $94.5 million cash. Dormont, located in Export, Pa., provides flexible stainless steel connectors for natural and liquid propane gas connectors. Its revenue for 2005 is expected to be about $56.5 million

Watts intends to fund the purchase with borrowings under its credit facility and cash on hand.  MSN Money_12/8/05

Veolia Water wins contract to manage water for Kunming, China

Veolia Water is the Water Division of Veolia Environnement. Kunming has over 3.5 million inhabitants and is the capital of Yunnan province (south-west China). The 30-year contract, which was awarded following an international competitive bidding process, is set to generate revenues totalling over 1.6 billion euros over the period. For this contract, Veolia Water has teamed up with a Hong Kong partner to acquire a 49% interest in Kunming Water Supply, the local water services operator, with the municipal authorities retaining the remaining 51% of the capital. Including Kunming, the company now operates in 15 of China's 28 provinces. Press Release_ 11/21/05

York Water Co. agrees to buy Abbottstown, Pennsylvania water system

But council members want to first sort out a condition specified in the deal. Last month, York Water Co. offered to purchase Abbottstown's system for $875,855. The borough had asked that York Water Co. return the water system to the borough free of charge should the company ever decide to disconnect the borough's water or cease to operate. York Water Co.'s acceptance letter, however, changed the wording of the condition to agree that York Water Co. would first offer to sell the water system back to the borough at the depreciated original cost. Evening Sun_ 11/20/05

SembCorp Utilities acquires 70% of Nanjing, China water treatment plant

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's SembCorp Industries acquired 70 per cent of NCIP Water Industry Company Ltd. The equity joint venture will build, own and operate a 100,000 tonnes per day water treatment facility in Nanjing Chemical Industry Park ("NCIP"). The total cost of the project is expected to be US$19 millionUpon acquisition, the joint venture will be renamed NCIP SembCorp Water Company Ltd, in which the remaining 30 per cent stake will be held by NCIP Utilities Company Ltd ("NCIPUC"). The facility is targeted to begin operations in 2007. Press Release/Reuters_ 11/18/05

U.S. Residential Water Treatment Market to Surpass $2.6 Billion in 2005
As consumer concerns over drinking water purity continue to rise, sales in the home water treatment market will easily soar past the $2.6 billion mark by year's end, according to The U.S. Market for Residential Water Treatment, a new report from market research publisher
Specialists in Business Information (SBI), a division of MarketResearch.com.
SBI projects that the home water treatment market -- which consists of
both water filtration systems and water softeners -- will reach $2.633 billion
in 2005, a 6.5% increase over 2004. Press Release_11/17/05

Gaseous chlorine disinfection systems at two water treatment plants in Tempe, Arizona replaced with Severn Trent on-site sodium hypochlorite generating system

The facilities, which were commissioned in October, are each equipped with a duty and standby ClorTec(tm) on-site sodium hypochlorite generating system, manufactured by Severn Trent Services. On-site sodium hypochlorite disinfection allows the City to reduce disinfection by-product formation (DBPs) as well as the potential hazards and security risks to plant operators and the nearby communities associated with chlorine gas. Press Release_ 11/10/05

Southwest Water Co. seeks new CEO

Southwest Water Co. on Thursday said it hired an executive search firm to find a future successor for Chief Executive Anton C. Garnier, 65, as part of an "orderly CEO succession process." Garnier, who has been with the water utility holding company for more than 38 years, said he plans to serve full-time in his other role as chairman and focus on the company's long-term, strategic issues. The company said it plans to consider both internal and external candidates. AP/MSN_ 11/10/05

PENNVEST approves $28 million for water projects

Fourteen more Pennsylvania communities will be getting cleaner drinking water

and more efficient wastewater and storm water systems with PENNVEST's

approval today of $25 million worth of low-interest loans and almost $3 million

in grants. The financial packages range from $62,500 to upgrade a 70-year-old,
antiquated, water system in Somerset County to $6.5 million to rehab a water
system in Schuylkill County, where the drinking water is discolored and
contaminated by both iron and manganese.  Press Release_11/09/05

Southwest Water 3Q profit, revenue climbs
Utility company Southwest Water Co. said Wednesday third-quarter profit rose due to a growing consumer base, acquisitions and increases in contracts and project work.  The company earned $3 million, or 15 cents per share, up 27 percent from $2.4 million, or 12 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. Revenue totaled $54.7 million, up 4 percent from $52.7 million. MSN_11/09/05

Connecticut Water Service, Inc. reports increased net income
Connecticut Water Service, Inc., (NASDAQ: CTWS), New England's largest domestic-based investor-owned water company, serving over 80,000 customers in 41 towns in Connecticut, announced an increase in net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 of approximately $1.6 million to $9.4 million. This increase is due primarily to a net gain on the sale of Barnstable Water Company ("BWC") assets to the Town of Barnstable. Blackenterprise_11/9/05

Money Manager Hails RWE Water Divestiture

In "Liquid Stocks", Summit Global Management's John Dickerson discussed opportunities to invest in water companies that were helping build water systems in China and other developing nations. His pick, RWE, had investments in the U.K.'s Thames Water and American Water Works of the U.S. and provided investors with dividend yields below the market average and price/earnings ration well below. On November 4, however, RWE announced it would divest its water assets and focus on electricity and gas markets in Europe.  "We are very happy that RWE is planning to get out of the water business," says Dickerson, "and we think in the longer run it will be a healthy development for investors in the U.S. water industry. The disposition of water utility assets in the U.S. is absolutely not an indication that this is a bad business that should be avoided by investors." Dickerson says that American Water Works was the largest and most successful of all the U.S. water utilities before the RWE purchase (today he says that accolade is with Aqua-America.  Forbes_11/8/05

And locally....

Rival Kentucky panels weigh deal for water utility

Eager to cash in on the sale of the parent company of Kentucky American Water, Lexington's top two political leaders yesterday appointed dueling committees to put together offers to buy the local utility. Early yesterday afternoon, Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon appointed a committee to evaluate and coordinate the city's response to a German utility conglomerate's (RWE) decision to sell American Water Works, the New Jersey-based parent company of Kentucky American. He named Mayor Teresa Isaac chairwoman of his committee.  Hours later, Isaac announced the formation of her own negotiating team. She did not say whether she plans to serve on Scanlon's committee.  Isaac's committee was formed because of a resolution that would empower her and the city's administrative staff to make an offer for Kentucky American.  Lexington Herald-Leader_11/8/05

Pa. firm buys water system in Statesville, NC
A Pennsylvania company that provides water and wastewater services has acquired the water-system assets of Community Water Works in Statesville. The system serves 250 residents in the Lincoln Estates and River Hill Heights subdivisions. It is one of four water systems acquired by subsidiaries of Aqua America Inc. (NYSE:WTR) of Bryn Wawr, Pa. The combined purchase price for the systems in North Carolina, Illinois and Pennsylvania is $550,000.

Aqua North Carolina plans to invest nearly $130,000 in the Community Water Works system for a new water main and meters, in addition to a well station, a storage tank and connection to the Iredell County water system.  The company's purchases are in addition to its acquisition of 24 water and wastewater systems through the first three quarters of the year.  Charlotte Business Journal_11/8/05

Watts Water Technologies' Canadian subsidiary buys Flexflow Tubing LLP

Watts Industries (Canada) Inc., acquired Flexflow Tubing LLP, located in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, in an asset purchase transaction. Watts Water Technologies' Chief Executive Officer, Patrick S. O'Keefe, commented, "Flexflow Tubing was established in 2005. Although recently established, Flexflow comes to us with an experienced management and production team as well as a full compliment of PEX manufacturing equipment. The acquisition of Flexflow Tubing allows us to expand our presence in the fast-growing PEX market by increasing our technical knowledge and our manufacturing capacity. The acquisition of Flexflow is consistent with our strategy to increase our presence in the under floor radiant heating and potable water markets." Press Release_ 11/7/05


RWE to sell Thames Water
Thames Water, the UK's largest water supplier, has been put up for sale by its German owner RWE. The utility firm said it intended to either sell Thames Water or spin it off on the stock market in order to focus on its gas and electricity businesses. RWE bought Thames Water for £4.8bn (7.1bn euros) in 2000 and analysts said it could now fetch a far higher price. Thames Water supplies water to eight million people across London and the south of England and has 4,000 staff. It also provides sewage services to 13 million customers. RWE said it hoped to conclude the divestment of Thames Water and two other businesses - Spanish water firm Pridesa and US business American Water - by 2007. BBC News_ 11/4/05

Connecticut Water Service wins University of Connecticut water management contract
Connecticut Water said its New England Water Utility Services unit would provide an on-site project manager to direct the day-to-day operation and management of the school's water systems at the Storrs campus. The agreement took effect Tuesday. The current agreement calls for Connecticut Water to conduct a full review of the university's water system, including operations and customer service practices, and to make recommendations on capital improvement and major maintenance projects. The company will also conduct a leak detection survey of the water systems in order to locate sources of lost water to minimize unnecessary demands on the university's water supply sources. The Street_ 11/2/05

Suez venture clinches water deal in China

French utility Suez said its Sino-French joint venture has signed a strategic partnership for water management with China's Chongqing municipality. The deal for the city of 32 million inhabitants in China's west will involve investment of 200 million euros ($240 million) of which one quarter will be borne by Suez, it said in a statement. Sino-French, Suez's 50-50 joint venture with Hong Kong's Group New World, will create a new 50-50 venture with Chongqing's water company to carry out the projects. The contract covers the construction and use of water-treatment stations, production and distribution of drinking water, management of waste water and management of client services. Sino-French already has a 50-year concession for water services in the north-eastern zone of Chongqing, the company added. Reuters_ 11/2/05

October, 2005

South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. buys U.S.-based American Engineering Services' water treatment operations

Doosan Heavy said it bought AES's water treatment unit through Doosan Hydro Technology Inc., which was set up in the U.S. for 6 billion won. The "reverse osmosis" unit of AES has equipped Doosan Heavy with original technology and a wide operational network across the United States, the company said. It added that it now has 80 desalination plants in the United States and in Central and South America. It also has secured reverse osmosis water and sewage public treatment systems in 100 locales. Korea Herald_  10/31/05

Fluidmaster, best-selling toilet valve in the U.S., plans move into China

Fluidmaster Inc. President Robert AndersonSchoepe teamed with Bemis Manufacturing Co., the world's leading maker of toilet seats, to produce and market their wares throughout Asia. In an interview last week at Fluidmaster's corporate headquarters, AndersonSchoepe and Norman Giertz, 50, president of Bemis' proprietary products group, said they might eventually export from China to the United States or other parts of the world. But they insist that the chief reason for the move was to serve China, something they say they can't do economically from a U.S. factory because of higher operating costs and steep Chinese import duties and taxes. Although much of China's population still lives in rural areas, where the standard-issue white flush toilet with rounded seat is a luxury, there is a growing middle class that wants more sophistication in its bathrooms, Giertz said. Chinese home decor, he said, is heavily influenced by Europe and Japan, markets in which customers are very particular about their toilets. In the United States, for example, a home improvement store might offer 50 varieties of toilet seats; a similar store in Europe would offer 150 designs, shapes and colors. Chinese also are showing interest in the high-tech bidet toilets with heated seats and bottom washers and dryers that are popular in Japan. Los Angeles Times_ 10/25/05 (logon required)

RWE plans to spin off Thames Water - Sources

German utility RWE plans to spin off its water businesses grouped under RWE Thames Water to focus on electricity and gas, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. German newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported earlier on Monday that RWE planned to list up to 30 percent of Thames Water, a unit containing the company's British and U.S. water businesses. The remainder would be kept by RWE for the time being, the paper added, without citing sources. Analysts estimate RWE Thames Water's enterprise value at 13 billion to 15 billion euros ($15.6 billion-$18 billion). RWE bought Thames Water for 7.1 billion euros in 2000 and American Water for 4.5 billion euros in 2003. RWE has said it would gradually withdraw from water activities, but only outside its core regions of Germany, the UK, Central Eastern Europe and the United States. On Monday, an RWE spokesman said only that the utility was continually reviewing its business strategy and modifying it where necessary to adjust to market conditions. Reuters_ 10/24/05

Soaring energy costs to hit dirty laundry baskets

The cost of airing your dirty laundry in public is about to go up. It is not only the motorist who has been socked in the wallet by soaring energy prices -- people who use Laundromats will also feel like they have been taken to the cleaners this winter. Natural gas, propane and electricity prices continue their march to new heights, and with those higher prices come higher utility bills for retail laundry centers -- much, much higher. The Coin Laundry Association represents about 14 percent of the 35,000 "retail self-service laundries" throughout the country. Its members are now contending with the prospect of both having to raise prices and install more efficient machines in order to make ends -- to say nothing of socks -- meet. Reuters_ 10/23/05

Spain's Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar) says Chilean unit  plans to sell up to 49.9 of its shares

Agbar, a Spanish water and waste services company said the Chilean unit Inversiones Aguas Metropolitanas is 80 percent indirectly owned by Agbar and owns in turn 51 percent of Chile's biggest drinking water supplier Aguas Andinas. The holding company, via its operating units Aguas Andinas and others, provides water and waste water services under an open-ended concession to around 6 million people in Santiago de Chile and the surrounding area. Reuters_ 10/21/05


Walter Industries Inc. to spin off water unit

The company said it plans to sell the shares of the new company in an initial public offering. Walter said it hopes the spinoff will create shareholder value by splitting the company in two, into a "pure play" water infrastructure company and a company mostly focused on its coal and natural gas operations. Reuters_ 10/21/05

Aduk Inc. moves water purification operations from Tazewell, Virginia to Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The company, which is based in Independence, Va., has contracted with Precision Part Systems, a contract assembly-and-packaging company to assemble the product. Aduk describes its Pure and Simple water-purification system as a micro-water-purification plant that fits in the same space as a bottled water cooler. Winston-Salem Journal_ 10/14/05

September, 2005

Minnesota City gets 3M Co. grant for water and tower

$3.3 million to help two neighborhoods

Lake Elmohas accepted a $3.3 million grant from 3M Co. that will pay for public water extensions to two neighborhoods where contaminated water was detected in more than a dozen private wells earlier this year. The grant will pay for extending the public water supply from a yet-to-be-built water tower to the Tablyn Park and Lake Elmo Heights neighborhoods, both of which are about five miles south of the new 500,000-gallon tower planned for near Minnesota 5 and Ideal Avenue.  The money accepted Tuesday also will pay for sealing off about 214 private wells in the two neighborhoods. Lake Elmo will design and supervise the installation of all the water hookups. The 3M grant will repay the city for all costs.  The land where the tower will be built was donated by 3M to the city earlier this year, but 3M officials said the tower and grant money are not linked.  St. Paul Pioneer Press_9/21/05 logon required

PENNVEST approves $62 million for Pennsylvania water projects
PENNVEST's board of directors today approved nearly $57.9 million in low-interest loans and almost $3.7 million in grants to fund 11 drinking water and wastewater projects in 11 counties across the commonwealth. The grants were targeted at four prohibitively expensive projects to bring them within the financial reach of their customers. The funding ranges from $270,300 to eliminate the use of contaminated drinking water wells in a Monroe County community, to $25 million to expand the capacity of a wastewater treatment plant in Montgomery County that will allow for business expansion and the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs. The funding for today's projects brings PENNVEST's total funding for community water, sewer and storm water projects to more than $3.9 billion since the program's inception.  Press Release_9/14/05

Seprotech Systems wins Canadian Army water purification contract

The Ottawa-based company renewed a service contract with the Canadian Forces to repair and overhaul the Army's portable drinking water system. The company says the contract should be worth about $1 million in revenue over the next 12 months. The water purification system is used by the Canadian Forces to supply drinking water to its own personnel as well as to civilian populations. The system is approximately seven metres long and is designed to produce potable water from heavily contaminated water sources. Ottawa Business Journal_ 9/13/05

August, 2005

Despite valuations, analysts say water still safe

Come on in, analysts say, the water is fine. While valuations of water utility stocks are well above their five-year averages, analysts said that these stocks are still wise investments for people who have the stomach to ride out some turbulence. They said the companies -- a small group including Aqua America Inc., California Water Service Group, American States Water Co., and Southwest Water Co. -- can provide value due to consolidation opportunities, strong earnings potential, steady dividends and increasing institutional investment. The industry has already been through a major consolidation: 10 years ago there were 21 publicly traded water utilities compared to about a dozen today, according to Schanzer. And the sector is poised for more, as capital spending necessary to meet new environmental regulations should create economies of scale for larger water companies. The companies can also expect to benefit from rising rates as they pass that spending through to customers. Moreover, the industry has very low risk -- there really is no substitute for water -- and has benefited from the relative scarcity of publicly-traded water utilities coupled with rising demand from institutional investors. Reuters_ 8/26/05

RWE's Thames Water in final talks to sell two water facilities in Chile
RWE AG's Thames Water unit is in final negotiations to sell its majority stakes in two facilities in Chile, reported the Financial Times Deutschland, citing a Thames Water spokeswoman. Although a possible purchase price for the two stakes was not named, industry insiders cited by the newspaper place the value of the two stakes at around 300 mln eur.

The two stakes up for sale are a 51 pct stake in Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios del Bio Bio SA (ESSBIO), and a 99 pct stake in Aguas Nuevo Sur Maule (ANSM). The Chilean facilities are the latest in a string of asset sales RWE has made, in a drive to sell its unprofitable facilities outside its main British and American markets. Forbes_8/17/05

Stock Index of the Water Industry introduced

The American Stock Exchange (Amex) announced that it has begun publishing the Palisades Water Index (Ticker Symbol: ZWI); a new index comprised of publicly traded companies engaged in the global water industry. Elias Azrak, co-founder of the Palisades Water Index, said, "There has recently been an historic increase in the public awareness of global waterissues. Virtually every country in the world is presented with some combination of water quality and quantity issues that will require significant expenditures to resolve. 

Press Release _ 8/11/05

July, 2005

Home Depot expands into water equipment business
Top home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. (HD.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it would expand into the water transmission equipment business, a new market, with the acquisition of National Waterworks Holdings Inc.  Terms were not disclosed, but a regulatory filing indicates Home Depot paid about $1.35 billion for National Waterworks, which distributes pipes, fire hydrants and other products used to move water to and from homes and businesses.  The acquisition is one of many that Home Depot Supply, the division that caters to home builders and other contractors, has made in recent years as Home Depot looks for growth outside its current retail channels. For the past few quarters, Home Depot Supply sales have risen in the double digits.  Joe DeAngelo, president of Home Depot Supply, in an interview said Home Depot looks for market leaders like National Waterworks, which has about a 14 percent share of the estimated $11 billion water and wastewater transmission equipment distribution business.  "Over the next 15 years, over 50 percent of the waterworks infrastructure will need to be replaced," DeAngelo added.  Reuters _ 7/19/05

Kline study identifies water treatment as key market for biocides in China
As China's industrial base continues to expand, a burgeoning market for specialty biocides has developed, both for domestic use and for export. A key sector of this market is water treatment applications, including cooling water, papermaking, recreational water, and oilfield applications.  Together, these end uses for biocides could represent a lucrative source of growth for multinational chemical companies that are able to compete effectively with domestic suppliers, according to a recently published market study by Kline & Company.  "The Chinese market for water treatment biocides is much smaller than in the U.S. or Europe, but it's growing at a much faster rate," says Gillian Morris, industry manager for the Chemicals and Materials practice in Kline's research division. "A multinational would face several challenges in entering a market space filled with low-cost domestic suppliers, but they might find it worth the effort to establish a foothold now, considering the growth potential." 

Press Release_ 7/12/05

Watts Water Technologies acquires water connector business of Donald E. Savard Company

Annual revenues of Savard's water connector business is approximately $6 million. Watts Water Technologies, Inc. is a world leader in the manufacture of innovative products to control the efficiency, safety, and quality of water within residential, commercial, and institutional applications. Press Release/Business Wire_ 7/8/05

UK's Weir sells water treatment operations to Veolia for 27.7 million stg

Weir Group PLC said it is selling the desalination and water treatment businesses of its Techna division to Veolia Water Systems, part of Veolia Environnement, for 27.7 mln stg. The companies, which include Weir Westgarth in Scotland, Weir Entropie in France and Weir Envig in South Africa, provide specialist engineering design in the areas of water treatment and sulphate removal with operations in the UK, France, South Africa, North and South America, the Middle East and Australia. Together they represent less than 7 pct of Weir Group sales. In the year ended Dec 31 2004, the company said the three desalination and water treatment businesses reported losses of 0.2 million stg on sales of 46.9 million. AFX/Forbes_ 7/8/05

Watts Water Technologies acquires Microflex N.V.

Watts Water Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has acquired Microflex N.V., located in Rotselaar, Belgium, in a stock purchase transaction.   Microflex produces and distributes flexible, pre-insulated, waterproof PEX pipes for hot and cold water transport, as well as a range of accessory products including couplings, caps, and insulation kits.  Watts Water Technologies, manufactures products to control the efficiency, safety, and quality of water within residential, commercial, and institutional applications. Press Release_7/5/05

June, 2005

Walter Industries to buy Mueller Water Products Inc. for $1.9 billion

Tamp, Florida-based Walter is best known as a builder of inexpensive homes, but said the aquisition is a strategic fit for its U.S. Pipe division, which manufactures iron pipe used in municipal water systems. Mueller, headquartered in Decatur, Illinois makes fire hydrants and valves. St. Petersberg Times_ 6/20/05

Israeli start-ups work on environmental technology
Water and wastewater projects attract investors

Israeli entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, who traditionally have focused on software, electronics and medical devices, now see a growing opportunity to make money from technology to clean up the environment. The first so-called "cleantech" venture capital fund is being formed, while environmental start-ups are sprouting up, and established companies are supporting initiatives to improve the environment, especially in the water treatment field.  Israel's national water utility, Mekorot, has started a program called WaTech to support the expansion of water improvement technology. In addition, Israel is a leader in wastewater recycling.  In five years it will be the only country to use all of its wastewater, mainly for agriculture, investors claim.  Reuters_6/20/05

Balfour wins Scottish water business

Construction and support services group Balfour Beatty announced it had won extra business with South West Water likely to be worth more than £100 million.  The company's utilities subsidiary Balfour Beatty Utilities had successfully negotiated an option to extend an existing seven year deal for integrated water distribution services.  The contract includes support for the areas' clean water infrastructure programme including rehabilitation of systems, minor capital works, leakage services, metering, reinstatement and repairs and maintenance.  The Scotsman_6/20/05

Emerson unit wins $5.8 million water treatment contract in China

Emerson Process Management received a $5.8 million contract to install its PlantWeb digital plant architecture to automate China's first water treatment plant and reservoir complex, the Company announced.  Harbin Water Supply and Drain Group Co. awarded the Emerson business the project that will include automation of a new water treatment plant and reservoir complex serving Harbin, China's seventh-largest city.  Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province and has 3 million residents. The city produces 940,000 tons of wastewater every day. To meet demand, the city is building a 119-million-gallons-per-day water treatment plant, a 94-billion-gallon reservoir complex, and expanding and rehabilitating its existing water distribution network by installing 110 miles of pipeline. 

St. Louis Business Journal_6/13/05

"Tapping" into the residential water treatment market - Membrane filtration for residential use

According to a Frost & Sullivan analysis, numerous POU and POE water treatment product suppliers are competing in the residential water treatment market, each trying to gain a foothold in this rapidly expanding market space, but amongst the various residential water treatment products, membrane products are displaying the most promising potential. In 2004, the U.S. residential water treatment market was estimated at $802 million, and 20 percent of market share is attributed to residential reverse osmosis systems. With the U.S. residential water treatment equipment market projected to reach over $1 billion in 2008, membrane-based water treatment products along with other filtration technologies are literally "tapping" the residential water treatment industry through every faucet. Frost & Sullivan_ 6/8/05

Consolidated Water proposes stock split
Consolidated Water Co., which converts sea water into potable water and distributes it to customers in the Cayman Islands and Bahamas, said its board of directors has recommended a 2-for-1 stock split.  The stock split will improve the liquidity and widen the appeal of the company's shares to institutional investors.  Forbes_6/7/05

Ex-FEMA chief to boost water-filtration firm
A Martin County Fla. company has enlisted the help of President Bush's former campaign manager and first FEMA chief to tout the firm's water-filtration machine.  Stuart-based UltraStrip Systems Inc. has signed a business development deal with Joe Allbaugh, a former aide and longtime friend of Bush's who has launched a handful of consulting and lobbying shops since leaving the FEMA post in 2003.  The 6-year-old UltraStrip has designed a mobile 40-foot filtration unit that can remove contaminants from the water supply. The federal Environmental Protection Agency tested and verified the system in March 2004.  Palm Beach Post_6/7/05

May, 2005

Procter and UNICEF team for clean water
Procter & Gamble Co. has entered into an alliance with UNICEF to provide home-based water purification systems to millions of families, the latest in a series of such efforts.  This partnership will involve the distribution of PUR water purification sachets in Haiti, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Uganda, Kenya and Pakistan. The program also will support UNICEF's efforts to bring clean water to schools, to help families in emergencies and to reduce exposure to arsenic-contaminated water.  Business Courier_5/25/05

Tanzania water privatisation plan hits snag
Tanzania's move to end a contract with two European-based water and sewerage companies, is a blow to a privatisation plan some saw as an African test case.  Tanzania said it was cancelling its contract with City Water Services, a partnership between Britain's Biwater, Germany's HP Gauff and a Tanzanian partner, because of non-performance under a 10-year contract.  City Water said it was losing money because it had been given incorrect information when it signed the deal to take over state-run water and sewerage services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city, in August 2003.  Reuters_ 5/23/05

Tanzania terminates joint British, German firm's water contract
The Tanzanian government has terminated its 10-year contract with an international firm for the provision of water and sewerage services to the country's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, for what it described as "poor performance". "The water supply services in Dar es Salaam and neighbouring places have deteriorated rather than improved since this firm took over two years ago," Edward Lowassa, the minister for water and livestock development, said on Friday at a news conference, where he announced the cancellation of the contract with the firm known as City Water.  Under Tanzania's programme of reforming state-owned utility firms, City Water - a joint venture formed by British Water Company Biwater, German engineering consultancy Gauff Ingenieure and local Superdoll Trailer Manufacturers Limited - had won the contract in February 2003 and began operations on 1 August 2003.  Reuters_5/17/05

3M Co. has agreed to buy water filtration company Cuno Inc. for about $1.35 billion.

Maplewood, Minn.-based 3M will pay $72 in cash for each share of Cuno (Nasdaq: CUNO), a 31 percent premium from its closing price Wednesday. 3M (NYSE: MMM) will assume $60 million of Cuno's debt.  3M says the acquisition will expand its presence in the growing water purification business, in which the company already generates more than $1 billion.  Austin Business Journal_5/12/05

Mesa Water releases details of water purchase initiative

- Mesa Water  has executed water purchase contracts with 75 Texas Panhandle landowners covering about 100,000 acres at a total cost of $25 million. The purchases mark a key element of the Company's initiative to sell Ogallala Aquifer groundwater to downstate municipalities facing water shortages.  Press Release_5/11/05

General Electric Co. to boost investment for 'green' technologies, including water

GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement that the new "Ecomagination" initiative aims to address the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy; reduced emissions; and abundant sources of clean water. "We plan to make money doing it," he said. "Increasingly for business, 'green' is green." Reuters_ 5/9/05

Watts Water Technologies Inc. files for $300 million mixed shelf

Watts Water makes water quality and water conservation products. It filed to sell from time to time up to $300 million in common and preferred stock, debt securities, warrants and other securities. The company said in a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it will use the net proceeds from the shelf offering for general corporate purposes. Under a shelf registration, a company may sell securities in one or more separate offerings with the size, price and terms to be determined at the time of sale. Reuters_ 5/4/05

Unit of French water utility Suez cancels water contract with Argentina

Aguas Provinciales de Santa Fe (APSF), in which Suez has a 51.69 percent stake, provides water to 660,000 clients in 15 cities in Santa Fe province. Suez's withdrawal automatically hands over control of the water services to the provincial government. APSF said in a statement it aims to negotiate with authorities to "allow for an orderly withdrawal in the short term." Suez, the world's fourth-largest listed utility group, threatened in March to pull out of Argentina altogether due to the dispute over price increases. The company also has a 40 percent stake in Aguas Argentina, the country's biggest water supplier. Reuters_ 5/3/05

April, 2005

Amiantit Group announces $114 million in pipe, desalination and other contracts from Gulf Cooperation Council nations and Yemen

The Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu has placed an order worth US$40 million for the huge 4 meter diameter GRP pipes, which is the world's largest. In addition, there were two orders for desalination plants in Kuwait among other projects. The orders from other GCC countries were mostly for ductile iron pipes and included replacement of Asbestos cement pipes in the UAE - a substance which is internationally banned -, a water distribution network in Abu Dhabi and two other projects in Doha. The orders from Kuwait were for the Sabiyah Desalination Plant project, a road construction project, and Al-Khiran New Town infrastructure project. Orders from Oman were for the Sohar Desalination Plant, and projects in the Ibra, Al-Qabil, Bidiyah and Fanjah areas that mounted to US$ 13 million. In addition, there were pipes ordered for distribution network projects in Bahrain and Yemen. AME Info_ 4/26/05

Shanghai government to auction water firm: Source

China has plans to auction a stake of up to 50 percent in a Shanghai water utility to foreign investors as part of privatisation drive, a source familiar with the plan said. The sale of a stake in Shanghai Waterworks Shibei Co. Ltd. would be the latest privatisation deal in China's lumbering water industry, which is short of funds and expertise in the face of rising water consumption. State-owned Shibei, which carries an estimated value of $600 million to $700 million including debts, would be attractive to Western utilities such as Veolia Environnement and Suez, two giants of the world water industry, said the source. Britain's Thames Water has held talks to buy into Shibei, but the negotiation yielded no results because it has since decided to focus on the European market, the source said. Reuters_ 4/19/05

Multi-millionaire Guy Hands to buy UK water and gas company East Surrey Holdings for £435 million

Mr Hands said his business, Terra Firms Investment, is keen to buy companies which operate basic industries. The deal is yet to be approved but could go ahead by the end of June. Redhill-based East Surrey supplies water to homes in East Surrey, parts of Kent and Sussex and south London. BBC News_ 4/8/05

Aqua American Chairman Nicholas DeBenedictis urges consolidation, privatization at water industry forum

DeBenedictis called for broader consolidation and privatization of the U.S. water industry to meet the demands of increasing environmental demands and a growing population. The remarks were made during DeBenedictis' address to the Water Executive Forum at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The April 5-6 event has attracted officials from the nation's leading water and wastewater organizations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. has more than 50,000 community water systems in operation, with nearly 84 percent of these systems serving less than 3,300 people. Furthermore, a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the nation's water infrastructure a "D-minus." Aqua America, Inc. is the largest U.S.-based publicly-traded water utility, serving more than 2.5 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Maine, Missouri, New York, and South Carolina. Press Release_ 4/6/05

National Waterworks Holdings Inc. files to raise up to $400 million in an initial public offering of common stock

The Waco, Texas-based distributor of water and wastewater transmission products said in a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it will use the proceeds from the IPO to repay debt and for fees and expenses. Reuters_ 4/6/05

Investing in water treatment in China
"There just isn't enough water in China," said Michael Hanbury-Williams, who manages Asian stocks at F&C Asset Management in London. "There will be new money going into developing water treatment." China has been trying to improve water supply to its citizens as economic growth increases demand and causes more pollution. About 700 million Chinese are drinking contaminated water, said Hanbury-Williams, citing figures from consultants. International Herald Tribune_ 4/4/05

March, 2005

Veolia Environnement bounces back to net profit in 2004, reaping benefits of two-year cost-cutting plan

The French utilitie group is the world's biggest supplier of water operating in some 85 countries. It proposed a 23 percent dividend increase to 0.68 euros a share, joining French peer Suez, which sharply raised its cash return to shareholders. Veolia said it made a net profit of 125.4 million euros ($168.4 million) compared with a net loss of 2.05 billion in 2003 after a huge writedown tied to U.S. Filter assets, most of which it has since sold. Reuters_ 3/16/05

French group Suez threatens to quit Argentina if country tries to nationalise firm's water activities

The world's fourth-biggest listed utility group supplies drinking water to two million people in Argentina via its 40 percent owned subsidiary, Aguas Argentinas. But Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has threatened it with action if it does not expand further, and has meanwhile rejected rate increases that the firm says it needs.  Reuters_ 3/10/05

Canada's ZENON Environmental to acquire two German companies for 10 million euros

ZENON through a wholly owned German subsidiary, has agreed unconditionally to acquire all the shares of each of Dresden-based Alpha Plan GmbH and Saxonia BioTec GmbH. Alpha Plan, a private company in the business of producing membrane-processing equipment for over 10 years, is considered one of the leaders in this field. Saxonia BioTec, also a private company, specializes in the development of hollow fibres and production of disposable cartridges and system assembly for filtration and bioprocessing. ZENON is a world leader in providing advanced membrane products and services for water purification, wastewater treatment and water reuse to municipalities and industries. Press Release_ 2/28/05

Russia's Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC to merge juice, water businesses

The merger, which goes into effect on March 1, will allow it to cut expenses and gain negotiating power with distributors and supermarkets. It said that in its dairy business, the centre division, which includes Moscow and Russia's central regions, would cease to exist with immediate effect. Reuters_ 2/17/05

Australia's Hastings Funds Management confirms purchase of UK's Mid-Kent Water

Hastings will but Mid-Kent from German bank WestLB for a value including debt of 241.3 million pounds ($451.2 million). Hastings, 51 percent-owned by Westpac Banking Corp., said in a statement it was using two of its utility funds to buy the asset, which is the fourth-largest of 13 water only companies in England and Wales by regulatory capital value. Reuters_ 2/14/05

Southwest Water Co. sees '04 profits down

The company said it expects 2004 earnings to come in below expectations due to project work delays and unusually wet weather in California. Earnings are expected to be $7 million pretax, or $4.4 million after taxes, on revenue of $188 million. Last year, the company reported profit of $11.2 million before taxes, or $7.2 million after tax, on revenue of $173 million. The 2004 revenue estimate is approximately $2 million below the company's prior guidance, and estimated net income is approximately $3.6 million less than previously anticipated. AP/Forbes_ 2/10/05

EU to probe Siemens-VA Tech deal in depth - Reuters source

The European Commission is about to launch a four-month, in-depth probe of plans by Siemens AG to acquire Austrian water engineering group VA Tech, a source familiar with the situation said. The German electronics giant acknowledged months ago the deal could breach EU competition rules and the source said a senior Commission official has said there are "serious doubts" whether the takeover meets EU rules. VA Technologie AG makes equipment for metallurgy, power transmission, water treatment, hydropower and industrial infrastructure. Reuters_ 2/8/05

Veolia Environnement 2004 revenues up 3.5 percent to 24.6 billion Euros

Veolia is the world's biggest supplier of water in some 85 countries. The company confirmed its target for double-digit growth in earnings before interest and tax in 2004, and said its net debt should fall below the bottom end of a previously announced 10.5 to 11 billion euro range.  Reuters_ 2/4/05

India's Hindustan Lever Ltd. taps new growth source with battery-operated water purifier

The unit of Anglo-Dutch Unilever Plc launched the Pureit device in the southern city of Madras, and would look to launch in other parts of India shortly. Five years in the making, Pureit operates on a battery and costs 1,500 rupees ($35), while the 250-rupee battery lasts for 1,500 litres (330 Imp gallons) of water, a statement said. "The absence of new growth engines is hurting Lever the most," said Nikhil Vora, a vice president of research at SSKI Securities, who rates Lever's stock an underperformer. "The belated entry into ... water is a case of too little too late." Reuters_ 2/3/05

January, 2005

Veolia Water expects its business to grow in China 20 percent a year for 15 years - CEO

Veolia Water, one of the world's leading water service and sewage treatment companies, also expects China to account for 10 percent of the firm's business by 2020, said Antoine Frerot, Veolia Water's chief executive officer. Frerot said such a target will be achieved on three conditions -- China maintains its current economic growth for 10 years; more than 15 million people migrate from rural areas to cities annually; and the Chinese Government maintains its firm stance on improving drinking water standards. Veolia Water has invested 500 million euros (US$650 million) in the Chinese water market and has signed 13 water service and sewage treatment contracts in the country since 1997, Frerot said. China Daily_ 1/31/05

ITT profit rises, helped by water equipment, defense

ITT Industries Inc. , which makes a range of industrial and defense products, said quarterly profit rose 12 percent, helped by sales of water-processing equipment and defense electronics. Its shares fell, however, as it issued a first-quarter profit forecast just shy of Wall Street's average estimate. ITT's water business is operating in many areas hit by December's Indian Ocean tsunami, helping to provide clean drinking water, while its defense business is ramping up maintenance of U.S. army vehicles in the Middle East. Reuters_ 1/28/05

Pennichuck Corporation to buy three New Hampshire water systems in the fast-growing central Lakes Region

Through an agreement with Central Water Company and Consolidated Water Company of Moultonboro, New Hampshire, Pennichuck will acquire the assets and franchise rights to the Locke Lake water system in Barnstead, the Birch Hill water system in Conway, and Sunrise Estates water system in Middleton, New Hampshire. Following regulatory approval, it is expected that the newly acquired water systems will be part of Pennichuck's subsidiary Pittsfield Aqueduct Company (PAC). Integrated Water Systems, an affiliate of Central Water Company and Consolidated Water Company, will continue to operate separately in its core business of supplying, replacing and servicing water treatment systems and pump equipment. Pennichuck Corporation is a holding company located in Merrimack, New Hampshire with three wholly owned operating subsidiaries involved in regulated water supply and distribution in Nashua and towns throughout southern and central New Hampshire; non-regulated, water-related services conducted through Pennichuck Water Service Company; and real estate management and development activities conducted through The Southwood Corporation. Press Release/Business Wire_ 1/25/05

International Development Corp. launches water treatment subsidiary Fresh Water Technologies Inc.

Fresh Water Technologies Inc. provides its customers with state of the art chemical free clean drinking water and industrial/commercial water treatment technologies. IDVL President Max Weissengruber stated, "FWI will focus its business efforts in North and Latin America." Press Release/Business Wire_ 1/24/05

Conflict between Argentine state and water firm Aguas Argentinas, controlled by France's Suez, casts doubt on firm's future

The firm, which serves the province of Buenos Aires, wants a tariff rise of 60% to fund water-supply improvements.The government has rejected the 60% rise and wants Aguas Argentinas to make an annual investment of 400 million pesos ($136 million; £72.3 million) in improvements. Suez owns 39.93% of Aguas Argentinas, while Spain's Aguas de Barcelona is its second biggest shareholder with 25.01%. Other shareholders are P.P.P., 10%, Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires, 8.26%, Vivendi - 7.55%, Corporacion Financiera Internacional, 5% and Anglian Water, 4.25%. Recently, Suez lost a water concession in Bolivia after mass protests in the city of El Alto (the poorest in the country), with citizens complaining of unfair water charges. This forced the government to cancel the contract. In Argentina, Suez's subsidiary, which has been fined for cutting the supply of water during a recent heat wave and allegedly failing to keep up investment to meet the demand for water, has maintained a tense relationship with the Argentine government. BBC News_ 1/24/05

UK's Balfour Beatty Plc wins $451 million water and electric contracts

British construction and engineering company Balfour Beatty Plc said it had won 240 million pounds ($451 million) of contracting work in the water and electricity sectors. Balfour said the contracts were with Anglian Water, Yorkshire Water and National Grid Transco. Reuters_ 1/20/05

Bidding heats up for UK water utility

Private equity firms Bridgepoint Capital and 3i have been placed on the shortlist to purchase Mid Kent Water, after the utility's owners WestLB narrowed the bidding to five suitors this week. The auction is expected to raise around 210 million pounds and WestLB wants the five bidders, also including consortiums led by Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Deutschebank, as well as Ecofin Water, to table offers by February 2. Mid Kent Water supplies 569,000 people in Kent. Times/Reuters_ 1/15/05

 

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