Saudi Arabia’s $16b water pipeline expansion is one big privatisation play in making

Saudi Arabia’s $16b water pipeline expansion is one big privatisation play in making

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IslamNews – For its privatization plans, Saudi Arabia is not thinking – or taking – half-measures.

If anyone needs confirmation, check out the kingdom’s utility sector… and specifically, the water side of it.

“All desalination plants will become standalone production companies as part of our privatization strategy,” said Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al-Abdlkareem, Governor of Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and Chairman of newly formed Water Transmission and Technologies Co. (WTTC).

“This, along with the broader strategy, presents many benefits. These include improving the Kingdom’s ability to attract investors, boosting private sector participation, creating a competitive environment, and reducing costs.”

The formation of WTTC in November would thus be the first step in kicking the privatization play into a higher gear. In one stroke, the entity was made responsible for more than 8,400 kilometres of transmission, distribution and water storage systems, which would handle 7 million cubic metres of desalinated water every day across the country.

Getting it IPO ready

So, where does the privatization part kick in? Or, more to the point, when?

“The government fully owns WTTC,” the official added. “However, after ensuring financial stability and the compatibility of plans with the need for expansion, we believe WTTC will be well placed to be offered for IPO.

“The company is represented by the Supervisory Committee for Privatization of the Environment. It will play a critical role in realizing the national water transformation programme’s strategic goals… while also bringing further efficiency to the sector and greater coherence between existing and future stakeholders.”

Source : Gulf News