Manila Water seeks new concession deals

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Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc. is eyeing 15 metropolitan areas where it may either invest in, develop and operate water supply systems or enter into concession agreements with state-run water districts.

 

In a briefing Monday, Manila Water president Gerardo C. Ablaza Jr. said the company’s first priority was to improve the water network in the Philippines, which was why the company had been looking for new areas—with populations of at least half a million— where it may be able to make a proposal.

 

“In terms of prioritization, the desire is that we see more opportunities in the Philippines before going abroad. After all, there are still many areas outside Metro Manila that don’t get the kind of reliable, consistent, quality water that we experience here in the East Zone of Metro Manila,” Ablaza explained.

 

As for developing new water sources for Metro Manila, the company is still awaiting the final final outcome of the study being undertaken by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, according to Ablaza.

 

“That has not been finalized but yes, the Kaliwa and Kanan Rivers, which are typically in the system generally referred to as Laiban, is part of the options that we are looking at. We expect to hear from [MWSS] very shortly what the masterplan will be in the next 10 to 15 years,” he added.

 

To further improve its services within Metro Manila, the East Zone concessionaire has earmarked P10 billion to P12 billion, which will be used for the construction of waste water treatment facilities and for the expansion of its network to new areas for water supply.

 

In a separate disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Manila Water said it was authorized by its board of directors to maintain a P7-billion appropriation from its retained earnings for the purpose of financing the capital expenditure requirements of its projects.

 

Meanwhile, two units under Manila Water are planning to invest as much as P6.5 billion over the next four years to improve water services in Boracay and Laguna.

 

Laguna Water Co., the joint venture of the Province of Laguna and Manila Water, is looking to allocate P4 billion to expand its water services to unserved areas within its concession area, which include Sta. Rosa, Biñan and Cabuyao, said company general manager Melvin Tan.

 

The goal, according to Tan, is to be able to serve approximately 80 percent of its concession area by 2016.

 

Boracay Water Co. Inc., which distributes water to Boracay Island, will meanwhile spend as much as P2.5 billion over the next four years, according to company general manager Bernardo C. Mañosca.

 

Mañosca said the amount will be used to ensure 100-percent distribution coverage for Boracay Island by yearend from the current 98 percent, and to increase wastewater treatment coverage to 75 percent by 2016 from the current 31 percent.

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