UAE-based Utico, GCC’s largest private utility, has bagged the Desalination Company the Year award at the Global Water Summit 2017 recently held in Spain.
This makes it the first UAE company to win the coveted annual award at the world’s premier business gathering for the water industry worldwide.
Utico, which is currently developing $700 million worth of water and other green projects in the UAE and over $350million across the world, is the only company from the Middle East to win the coveted award, a statement said.
Utico won the honour for developing a trailblazing independent water and power project (IWPP) model distinctively positioning the company as a private water utility dealing directly with the end users and government bodies alike. The award was given by Global Water Intelligence with worldwide industry peers voting and assessment by an eminent independent jury.
“This award is a global endorsement recognizing the viability and investor acceptance of our private business model in the desalination and water industry sphere. Our model supports governments and consumers with sustainability across operations. In the case of governments, the benefit is either low or no subsidy and cost-efficiency which in turn has trickle down benefits to consumers,” said Richard Menezes, managing director, Utico.
The citation by the Global Water Award committee said that Utico has taken the desalination industries development model to the next level lining up a string of power and water projects around the Gulf while spreading its wings abroad through acquisitions, particularly mentioning its takeover of Minjur acquisition plant in Chennai, India last year.
Utico’s landmark achievement of closing a $147 million deal with sovereign wealth fund- IDBI Infrastructure Fund II – managed by Asma capital for project and equity finance was also cited as a significant mark of confidence from investors in its strategic business model. ASMA Capital is owned by sovereign institutions including Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Public Pension Agency (PPA), Ministry of Finance of Bahrain and Ministry of Finance of Brunei.
“The global recognition and landmark partnerships comes at a time when Utico is expanding across the GCC and other nearby global geographies. On a broad level, the award is also an encouragement to private utility players to enhance their role in independent IWP models putting less liability on government and help them reign in subsidies which is critical in low oil price environments. Moreover sovereign government guarantees are not an efficient way for project development in any country,” Menezes added.
Recently, as a consumer reach out, Utico had also announced a unique project of supplying free water with buy back option or lowest water tariff in the UAE to farmers for sustainable agriculture which will benefit close to 3,000 farms in the Northern Emirates. Currently about 200 farms are in the process of being connected in the coming weeks. – TradeArabia News Service