Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Manila Water-led consortium buys Aussie water firm for 225-M Australian dollars


MANILA, Philippines - A consortium led by Manila Water Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. has acquired United Utilities Australia Pty. (UUA), a wholly-owned unit of United Utilities Group Plc for 225 million Australian dollars.

Manila Water said on Tuesday its acquisition of UUA is part of the company's strategic move to enhance its presence in the region as a major water and wastewater services provider.

"This transaction will improve the company's competitiveness and visibility in the region as it focuses to expand operations in emerging countries with significant water scarcity problems," Manila Water said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Manila Water said it will have a 12.7% interest in the consortium that also includes Innovation Network of Japan and JGC Corp.

The water utility's participation in the acquisition of UUA, will help shore up its revenue base. UUA currently owns and operates 35 water treatment plants, 22 wastewater treatment plants, nine reuse schemes and four desalination plants across Australia.

Manila Water, a unit of listed conglomerate Ayala Corp. has been eyeing opportunities outside of the Philippines in its bid to boost its stock as a regional player in the water and wastewater business.

The company holds the concession to manage and distribute water in the eastern zone of Metro Manila, servicing about 6.1 million customers.

Recently, the company inked a deal with REE Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp. to develop water and wastewater projects in Vietnam.

It also completed the incorporation of Jindal Manila Water Development Co., a joint venture with Jindal Water Infrastructure Ltd., which will provide water and wastewater services in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra states in India.

Manila Water, whose shares are listed at the stock exchange, closed 1.6% higher at P15.50.

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