UAE. Gulf Capital this week completed the acquisition of a 60% stake in Metito, one of the world’s largest providers of desalination, water and wastewater solutions. The investment aims to grow Metito’s water concessions business and further cement its position as the Arab world’s leading water utility. The transaction is also the largest private equity investment to date in the fast-growing Middle East water industry.
Metito has been a leading provider of water and wastewater solutions since the late 1950s. Through its operation in 15 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Metito is ranked among the top global providers of desalination plants with over 2,000 installations worldwide. Metito is also the largest Arab water utility running 16 water concessions globally.
According to the United Nations, a third of the world population will be living in areas experiencing water shortage, including much of the Middle East. The lack of fresh water compounded by population and economic growth has made water in dire shortage in some parts of the globe, and few companies have focused on providing solutions for this mounting problem.
To alleviate the acute water shortages, investments to the tune of US$117 billion are expected to be invested in the Middle East alone between now and 2015. Saudi Arabia, the largest market for water and waste water in the region, is expected to invest US$28 billion in the sector over the next ten years, of which around US$6 billion will be allocated for building new desalination water plants. UAE, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and many other Middle East countries will be required to invest heavily in their water sector just to keep up with demand and avoid social and economical problems.
Metito is ideally positioned to meet these demands and further cement its position as the leading Arab provider of water solutions.
Given the magnitude of the investments needed, governments have pushed for the privatisation of the water sector to the top of their priority list. In Saudi Arabia, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) announced recently its plans for the privatisation of its water production assets worth around US$800 billion. Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) has started its privatisation programme since 1997 and has extended it this year to its sewerage treatment facilities. Metito was one of the first regional private companies to tap into this growing trend by running water concessions on a private basis as early as 1999. Metito has accumulated 16 water concession contracts to date in the Arab World, and is on track to secure a number of additional ones, further solidifying its market leadership.
Dr Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital, said: “This is truly a landmark deal and we are extremely pleased with this investment. Metito is the market leader in what is possibly one of the most promising sectors in the Middle East. We believe the company has excellent prospects for continued market leadership and growth, especially in the water desalination arena. Metito's long track record in delivering high quality and cost-effective water solutions to the Arab World is exceptional, and we look forward to working in partnership with management to safeguard and extend that rich legacy.”
Mutaz Ghandour, co-founder and CEO of Metito, said: “Gulf Capital’s investment represents a strong endorsement of our management, business plan, market leadership and future growth plans. We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Gulf Capital, one of the region’s most active private equity firms, given their long-term view towards growing the businesses in which they invest and their excellent track record of working in partnership with management to build great companies. With the recent capital infusion and Gulf Capital’s backing, Metito is well positioned to capitalise on the regional opportunities and further cement its position as the leading water utility in the Arab World."
Note: Metito is a leading international company in the supply of desalination, water supply and wastewater treatment technology and services. It serves a global client base in Europe, Asia and Africa with engineering, design, plant manufacturing and chemical production facilities. Metito has built on this base to be the leader in providing complete water solutions, such as in its concessions business.
Gulf Capital is a leading alternative investment company focused primarily on investing locally raised capital in the GCC region. Incorporated in Abu Dhabi in 2006 as a private joint stock company, Gulf Capital was established with a capital base of AED1.225 billion (US$330 million) from 300 of the most prestigious institutional and individual investors in the Gulf. Gulf Capital is focused on acquiring sizeable and controlling stakes in highly profitable and rapidly growing companies within a select number of emerging industries in the GCC region. The firm is rapidly emerging as a leader in the field of private equity investing in the Middle East.
See also: www.metito.com