Manila Water set to expand to Thailand

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Manila Water continues to make its presence felt in the ASEAN region after it signed a Share Purchase Agreement to acquire an 18.72% stake in Eastern Water Resources Development and Management Public Company Limited (“East Water”), a publicly-listed water supply and distribution company in Thailand.  This is Manila Water’s first point of entry into Thailand as part of the company’s ongoing expansion in Southeast Asia.

“Manila Water marks another milestone in its regional growth, as it establishes its presence in Thailand through East Water.  We recognize the opportunities this new market presents for us, and we are eager to share the technical expertise and service quality which Manila Water has developed over the last 20 years.  From the conglomerate perspective, Ayala sees this development as a strategic entry point into Thailand.  With Manila Water leading the way, we hope to leverage our various capabilities to enlarge our footprint in the country,” said Ayala Corporation President and COO, and Manila Water Board Chairman, Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

East Water provides raw and tap water supply services in the eastern region of Thailand—the country’s main industrial area and home to various heavy industries including automotive, electronics, and petrochemicals.  Currently, East Water provides raw water supply to three provinces, holds concession contracts to operate in 11 different locations, and provides water service to several industrial estates – all situated within a total area of 13,285 square kilometers, an area nearly as large as the CALABARZON region in the Philippines.

Manila Water Company President and CEO Ferdinand Dela Cruz said, “Our entry into the Thailand water space aligns squarely with our internationalization strategy, with focus in Southeast Asia.  East Water presents great potential, as its future growth will mainly come from the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the Thai government’s initiative to further develop the country’s eastern seaboard into a leading economic zone in ASEAN.”

Virgilio C. Rivera, Jr., President of Manila Water Asia Pacific, added, “The EEC is aimed to be a hub for technological manufacturing and services, with strong connectivity to its ASEAN neighbors by land, sea, and air. The Thailand government expects investments of over USD43 billion for the realization of the EEC over the next several years.”

The acquisition is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions precedent. Meanwhile, Manila Water will finance the acquisition through a combination of internally generated funds and bank debt.

Manila Water’s entry in Thailand comes after its foray into bulk water and concession projects in Vietnam, where it is now the largest direct foreign investor in Vietnam’s water sector supplying half of the bulk water requirements of Ho Chi Minh City.  It has also completed pilot projects in Bandung, Indonesia for a non-revenue water reduction program and in Yangon, Myanmar for leakage reduction.

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