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Oct 26, 2009

Wastewater treatment firm Bluewater Bio expands into SA

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International wastewater treatment technology provider Bluewater Bio has seen significant market opportunity for the provision of its Hybrid Bacillus Activated Sludge (Hybacs) wastewater treatment process to customers in South Africa and in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

The London-headquartered company on Monday announced that it had signed an exclusive three-year representation agreement in South Africa through a licence agreement with Headstream Water, which would officially open its doors in Johannesburg and Cape Town in January 2010.

Johannesburg Water chairperson Martie Janse van Rensburg, who was formerly the CEO of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, is the nonexecutive chairperson of Headstream, while Justin Moore is the CEO.

The initial agreement could be extended for further two-year periods, depending on the achievement of certain sales targets by Headstream, it said in a statement.

“South Africa is a priority region for Bluewater Bio because many plants in the country are dysfunctional. This is down to poor maintenance, lack of capital expenditure and, most importantly, overloading because of population growth,” Bluewater Bio CEO Daniel Ishag commented.

Out of the 1 619 wastewater plants registered with South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs, about 60% to 80% were dysfunctional to a greater or lesser degree in terms of regulatory compliance of stipulated water quality characteristics, he added.

“These are predominantly the smaller municipalities, as the larger urban centres still have capable technical staff, but even this infrastructure is deteriorating. There is no doubt that the remainder of the sub-Saharan African countries are in a far worse predicament and South Africa will be our central base as we enter this market,” said Ishag.

The local company would initially focus on upgrading and restoring the performance of older wastewater treatment plants across the country, particularly in “stressed areas”, as well as private sector plants serving mining communities.

Headstream was in the process of negotiating a cooperation agreement with the largest independent operator of wastewater plants in South Africa, Bluewater stated.

Three projects in North West and Mpumalanga provinces were already under consideration.

The technology provider noted that its Hybacs process would be particularly attractive in these regions, as there is no need for large-scale civil works and it could provide up to 50% energy savings on existing wastewater plants.

Bluewater and Headstream planned to expand into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa between 12 months and 18 months after establishing itself in South Africa.

Moore had over 30 years of investment banking experience and has been an adviser for a number of South African water utilities, including Umgeni Water and Rand Water.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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