Jordan, October 28, 2018
Dubai-based Metito eyes Turkish acquisition in 2018 amid expansion

The water treatment firm said its plans to realise $1bn in revenues will be on target for 2020


Dubai-based water treatment specialist Metito will look at a possible acquisition in Turkey this year, with a view to expanding in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), even as it hopes to realise $1 billion in revenues by 2020, according to its managing director.

“We did come close to more than half to a billion [dollars revenue] in the [past] four years. By 2020, we should be able to double [revenue],” said Fady Juez.

“We’re looking at a possible acquisition in Turkey this year. Turkish contractors have a strong presence in the CIS countries,” he added.

The CIS is a regional intergovernmental organisation of 10 post-Soviet republics in Eurasia, including Kazahkstan, Russia and Belarus, formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Metito, which executes large-scale water and waste-water projects in the Arabian Gulf region and around the globe is a World Bank-backed entity. The International Finance Corporation, a unit of the World Bank, owns around 6 per cent of Metito, with a 56 per cent interest held by Abu Dhabi private equity firm Gulf Capital and family shareholders owning the remainder.

The company, which has a strong regional presence particularly in Saudi Arabia’s large industrial bases as well as Egypt, is also executing large-scale rehabilitation projects in Iraq, a country, where it has been present since the early 1960s.

“We’re executing projects now, we never stopped, we don’t have people, we’re working through Iraqi companies we’ve known for years,” said Mr Juez. “We were the first people to have completed three or four drinking-water projects for large parts of Baghdad and now we’re executing the main sewage treatment plants of the Basra region,” he added.

With the formation of the new government, headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, Mr Juez said he expected a considerable increase in business and an opening up of the market.

Provinces in close proximity to rivers as well as those near the Jordanian border will rank high in priority for the government to execute water projects with the help of Metito, which runs its Iraqi operations from an office in Amman.

The value of Iraqi water projects alone would be worth “billions and billions”, said Mr Juez.

“It needs long-term planning and, obviously, they need to focus on specific areas initially. Basra is in desperate need of water, not only production but in transmission and distribution, also to preserve the rivers. Billions of dollars would be needed to do that,” he said.

While financing for most regional projects is done through a mix of commercial and government bank funding as well as equity, Mr Juez remained hopeful of commercial banks making a return to invest in Iraq once the new government is in place.

“Depending on the project and the capability of the offtaker, yes they will do it,” he said. An offtake agreement is one between a producer resource and a buyer of a resource to purchase or sell portions of the former’s future output.

Elsewhere in the region, Metito is developing a 30,000 cubic metres per day solar desalination scheme worth $58 million within the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia, “which will be expandable to 60,000 cubic metres per day or more”, said Mr Juez.

While declining to specify the company’s total installed capacity for the region, he remained hopeful of a slew of schemes for the private sector to handle in Saudi Arabia amid plans for greater privatisation.

“They're moving extremely quickly. It’s a very large country and had some issues at the start but they’re moving extremely quickly,” he said.

thenational