Dh719 million water desalination plant to be set up in RAK

Utico Middle East, a private GCC utility and solutions provider, and Spanish energy firm Grupo Cobra, have announced their joint venture partnership to construct a Dh719 million water desalination plant in Ras Al Khaimah.

The joint venture, to be called Al Hamra Water Company, is 60:40 partnership between Utico Middle East and Grupo Cobra and will oversee the development of the world’s largest privately financed independent desalination company. The facility will be located in the Al Hamra Jazeerah area of Ras Al Khaimah and will be an environment-friendly desalination plant.

A shareholders’ agreement to this effect was signed in Dubai on Thursday by senior officials of Utico Middle East and Grupo Cobra. Once completed in 2017, the Al Hamra Water Company will generate 22 million gallons of water per day (MGD) to serve the needs of Ras Al Khaimah and surrounding regions. The project will create 300 jobs during the construction phase and 80 permanent positions once operational.

Speaking at a press conference in Dubai on Thursday, Rashid Al Baloushi, Chairman of Utico, said, "The project is a path-breaking development and comes at the right time especially when governments are removing subsidies for fuel and services. Utico has been a visionary utilities service provider that grew with opportunity and support from the government of Ras Al Khaimah and Federal Water and Electricity Authority as well as Federal ministries and authorities. Our unique model of utilities development, combined with a pro-consumer, environment-friendly approach, has been widely recognised by governments and other utilities providers in the region."

Grupo Cobra will own 40 per cent while Utico Middle East will control the remaining 60 per cent. This will be one of the largest foreign direct investments in the UAE in recent times and certainly the largest in an infrastructure project of its kind. The tender for the project was announced in November 2013. The legal advisors for the project are Latham & Watkins while the financial advisors are KPMG.

Richard Menezes, Utico’s Managing Director, also said that the facility will have one of the lowest power consumption levels in the region, as well as water re-use saving at least 33,280 tons of CO2 per year. These factors will help the facility to reduce impact on climate change.

Miguel Guevara Fernandez, CEO of Grupo Cobra (Water), said that the group’s investment is a vote of confidence in the UAE’s growth and in the project. He added that the Ras Al Khaimah plant will be one of the most advanced in the world.

Luis Rein, Managing Director Infrastructure Concessions, Grupo Cobra, said: "Over the past few years, the Middle East’s infrastructure industry, including the desalination market, is witnessing increasing activity and we are keen to expand our profile here."


Print Email