Thursday, 8 April 2010

Manila Water eyeing Indonesia next for expansion

Jenniffer B. Austria
Manila Standard

Manila Water Co. Inc., the water utility unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., is considering Indonesia as the next area for expansion after ventures in Vietnam and India.

Manila Water group director Virgilio Rivera Jr. told reporters during the fifth listing anniversary of the company at the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday that Indonesia was a likely area for expansion because it had the same water situation as the Philippines.

“Indonesia has always been in our radar screen. It is a very big market with 200 million population,” Rivera said.

He said Manila Water, which serves the eastern section of Metro Manila, would likely seek a local partner in Indonesia for the expansion project.

“Within the year hopefully we can start talking to potential partners,” Rivera said.

Manila Water is interested in handling bulk water supply and distribution in Indonesia.

Manila Water is in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and has recently teamed up with Jindhal group for its planned venture in India.

Rivera said Manila Water was looking at between six and 12 water projects in three states in India and had pre-qualified in one of them.

Manila Water earlier said it would explore opportunities in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in India.

Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc., which serves the western section, meanwhile, are in the preliminary stage of forming a team that would do a comprehensive study on the potential water sources of Metro Manila.

Manila Water president Jose Rene Almendras said the two utility firms were seriously considering other water sources like Laiban, Sierra Madre and Marikina

“Instead of developing one major source of water, we want to develop not so big water sources, which would not result in without significant spike in water rates,” Almendras said.

Manila Water and Ayala Land Inc., the property unit of the Ayala group, meanwhile, agreed to form a joint venture company that will serve as the water and wastewater planning, developing and operating vehicle for real estate projects.

Manila Water said it signed a memorandum of agreement with the Ayala Land group composed of Avida Land Corp., Alveo Land Corp., Ceci Realty Inc., Aurora Properties Inc. and Vesta Property Holdings Inc., to jointly develop and operate a water and wastewater utility service company that will serve projects south of Manila, including Nuvali.

Nuvali is a 1,700-hectare mixed use development of Ayala Land and the Yulo family in Alabang, Laguna.

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