By ARCHANA CHAUDHARY
Essar Group, owned by the billionaire brothers Shashi and
Ravi Ruia, plans to increase its India water revenue more than
fourfold by 2017 to meet the rising demand for water-treatment
and supply projects.
Essar intends to bid for desalination plants, water
distribution and sewage facility works in Asias
third-largest economy, where the government has set aside 1.1
trillion rupees ($18 billion) for water projects, said Neeraj
Sanghi, CEO of Essar Concessions India.
We expect this sector to be more organized over the next
three to five years, Sanghi said in a phone interview
from Mumbai. We want to be present when it reaches the
tipping point, which is now coming closer.
Essar and Indian rivals including Larsen &
Toubro Ltd. are competing with Veolia Environnement and Va Tech
Wabag Ltd. for water projects in India. Clean water demand by 2030
may exceed national supplies by half as pollution and
contamination makes whats available not fit for human,
industrial or farm use, according to McKinsey & Co.
forecasts and a government report.
The company, an arm of the construction unit Essar Projects Ltd., expects to close the
financial year ending March 2014 with revenue of 2 billion
rupees, Sanghi said. He expects that to reach about 10 billion
rupees in five years.
India has sanctioned 1,053 projects valued at 589 billion
rupees to build water supply, drainage and sewage plants under
the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to meet
clean-water demands. Per person water availability in India dropped by 15% in a decade,
according to the government.
Essar won a contract worth 700 million rupees this month to
build a 70 million liters/day treatment plant at Jamnagar in
the western state of Gujarat. The company will invest 800
million rupees to build a pipeline to carry treated water to
industrial customers including its own refinery, Sanghi said.
The company also plans to bid for more water-treatment projects auctioned by municipalities
and is looking to work with foreign companies to build
desalination plants, he said.