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Septech looking at clean water business


By Sona Nambiar

Septech Emirates, a water infrastructure company, says it is looking at offering capital expenditure components on mobile decentralised plants in the coming year, according to its Chief Strategic Officer (CSO). It is also looking at a clean water initiatives in the region, the details of which it expects to announce by end-February, he told Emirates Business in an exclusive.

"There is clearly a demand for clean drinking water in the region and we are looking to cater to that demand. We have a current relationship with GE for our desalination mobile technology and our 20-year agreement with it has expanded to Qatar. But when we go into these markets, we will pursue investigative work on our own. Since we have experience on working on recognised projects in the UAE, we can continue with that model till we need to change the way that a new structure is required," according to Ashruf Kamel, CSO at Septech Emirates.

The company is also expecting about 12 to 20 per cent growth in 2010 and is in the process of finalising an office in Libya on the heels of opening an office in Oman.

It had also opened its first office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last month as part of its regional expansion plans. In September 2009, Septech entered into a strategic joint venture with a Saudi partner, Mawrid Holdings, to form Septech Saudi Arabia, which is now operational providing mobile water solutions and precast material among other products and services).

"We are expecting a growth of between 12 and 20 per cent that we would be striving for in Menasa though we are currently operating in GCC and we continue our intention to expand across the region depending on how quickly we can set up in those countries," added Kamel.

"Our business strategy has changed significantly. So far, we have looked at the industry as an EPC contractor. But we are now noticing that given the economic conditions, clients are looking at having more decentralised plants and having more mobile and deployable solutions. We can offer the capital expenditure component where they can invest into the asset. We are moving towards how we can offer the utilities model as a technology provider where we can develop the concession models for clients with infrastructure banks and development agencies."

Pre-cast infrastructure is still a significant part of the company's portfolio.

"Meanwhile clean water business is growing significantly. We can deploy packaged treatment plants for small communities right through larger scale developments. We have spoken to a number of developers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and certain developers in the latter have shown interest that should be an attractive product offering for us in 2010," he said. Water and wastewater is big business for the company in Saudi. "It is our largest market. Oman is also a good market and we are also looking at Libya as well as marine opportunities in Kuwait and future growth in India," he said

Additionally, the new privatisation announcement from Dewa is of interest to the company. "Going forward, if Dewa is looking at an upgrade programme, and then looking at the a DBOOT model – where they would look at the redesigning an existing plant on an upgrade, remodeling it on a financial basis and having the operations for 20 to 25 years – then that is of interest to us. We have spent the last 18 months talking to big financiers in terms of positioning our products," said Kamel.

It would be a solo initiative initially, he said.

"At the moment, we would like to understand more of the privatisation scheme and would go for it as Septech Emirates. But we certainly would be looking at supporting any additional requirements that would be needed in future. In which case, we have great contacts and experience with working with companies from the US, Europe, Australia on different projects and would certainly look at having them available to us if needed to," said Kamel.


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