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08 December 2023

Palm Utilities may go public next year

By Staff Writer


Palm Utilities, the wastewater treatment unit of Dubai’s state-owned Istithmar, may sell shares to the public next year as the emirate invests in infrastructure to keep pace with record economic growth, according to a Bloomberg report.

“We plan to look at an IPO in 2008,” Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Chairman of Palm Utilities and chairman of Palm District Cooling, said in an interview. “We may sell shares in Palm Utilities or Palm District Cooling.”

Ahmed made the statement at an event in Dubai to announce the awarding of a Dh3 billion contract to Suez unit and the Besix Group.

Palm Utilities awarded Suez Environment, through its subsidiary Degremont, in consortium with Besix Group, a DBO contract totalling around $800 million (Dh2.9 billion).

Ahmed Butti and Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of Suez Environment, signed the environmental contract in Dubai yesterday. The contract is to design, build and operate a wastewater treatment and re-use plant for 10 years as part of the Jumeirah Golf Estates real estate development in Dubai.

It also covers the installation and operation of a system to collect sewage and distribute treated water spanning nearly 40 kilometres. Degremont’s share of the contract will reach 54 per cent of the total amount.

Through this contract, Palm Utilities reaffirms its commitment to provide the safest, most efficient and environment-friendly systems, said the statement.

The contract will be performed under a consortium lead by Degremont, which will design, build and operate the plant, and the Belgian group Besix, established in Dubai for 40 years, will provide the civil engineering for the entire project and will build the sewage collection system and other mechanical sections of works.

The waste-water treatment plant will be the largest sewage treatment plant in the world using Membrane BioReactor technology and will be able to process 220,000 cubic metres of water per day for a population of 900,000. The ultra filtration will guarantee the good quality of the treated water, reused for landscaping purposes. The sludge will be treated by a Degremont digestion technology combined with a boosting system to reduce the volume of sludge produced and provide biogas used in the operation of the plant. In addition, Degremont will dry the sludge using the Innodry process for a 70 per cent further reduction in volume. The process dries the sludge without producing dust, thereby ensuring a very safe operation.

Jumeirah Golf Estates real estate complex is located 22km to the south west of Dubai’s business district. It will be a real new city with residential communities laid out near golf courses, which will be maintained with recycled water. Nakheel, Dubai’s first real estate developer, granted a 30-year concession to Palm Water to develop the project.