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Natural Resources

International Investments in Water World

By Gary Scott
Natural Resources

International investments in water makes great business sense. The product is something everyone needs -- in fact, after a few days you die if you don't have it. Its uses are nearly unlimited: industrial, recreational, culinary, medicinal. There's a limited supply, and an unceasing demand.

This is why we have been looking at international investments and water on this site for over five years.

Big trends in water are treating, purifying and providing it. About 85 percent of drinking water, and an even larger percentage of waste water services are provided by municipal-owned systems. Under the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act many of these municipalities have to renovate their often antiquated systems. Many cities don't have the money or the access to capital, so they outsource to profit-making companies.

This is why last November we looked at Insituform Technologies, a leader in trenchless water line replacement.

Insituform’s share price has risen from $19.20 to $25.30 in this last three months since we wrote about it.

Today’s focus is in Europe which has had water problems even longer than in the US and has many companies that provide water services globally. It should come as no surprise that Europe have some of the largest water companies.

France is home to some of these large water companies. One of these firms is Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, formed through a 1997 merger between Compagnie de Suez (the company that built the Suez Canal and then became a bank) and Lyonnaise des Eaux (a water company with operations in the United States, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Spain and more). After the merger, the company’s name became Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and was subsequently shortened to Suez in 2001.

Suez, trades on the Paris Bourse under the ticker symbol LY and several years ago adopted American business management methods, sharpening its focus and aiming to benefit shareholders, not just employees and managers.

In the summer of 2002, Suez merged its water and wastewater services into a division called Suez Environment. Its water and wastewater business , is the second largest in the world. Suez provides water-related services to more than 115 million people worldwide. Its other business areas are electricity, natural gas, water and waste management. Suez also maintains interests in television and broadband distribution. In 2001, Suez was ranked 99th on Fortune’s Global 500, and in the same year it was ranked 19th in the world among companies with the greatest international presence, according to the United Nations World Investment Report.

Suez Environment supplies sustainable solutions for essential environmental services (water, sanitation and waste services) to industrial and individual customers around the world.

Their water services include:

* Design, construction and startup of water treatment plants (drinking water, desalination, wastewater, and sludge treatment).
*  Production, treatment and distribution of drinking water.
*  Sewage treatment and sludge recovery.
*  Rainwater collection and treatment.
*  Optimization and complete management of the industrial water cycle.

Their waste services include:

* Collection of domestic waste, non-hazardous and hazardous industrial waste.
* Sorting, recycling and biological recovery.
* Incineration with waste-to-energy recovery.
* Landfill disposal of household and industrial waste.
* Urban and industrial cleansing.
* On-site and polluted-soil treatment.

SUEZ Environment did EUR 532 million in 2005 and recorded a +5.1% organic growth rate vs. +1.6% in 2004. This growth was driven by water in Europe (EUR 162 million, +5.1%) and international activities (EUR 169 million). Waste services in Europe (EUR 83 million, +1.8%). The firm recorded increases of 3% in France and 3.6% in the UK, while activity in Germany grew during the 2nd half.

Suez shares are also traded in Frankfurt, Brussles, Zurich and Suez ADRs trade on the New York Stock Exchange with the code SZE. The ADRS have traded between $26 and $37 in the last year and are in the $35 range now.

Suez is a natural resource blue chip of the world.

Until next message, may your water and international investments to you.


Recent messages have looked at our new winter home in Cotacachi and the wonders of this area. Yesterday's message looked at how we hiked the Cuicocha crater lake. Since we are on the subject of water today it is appropriate for me to tell you that today we visited the Chachimbiro Volcanic Thermal Spa. This spa has medicinal volcanic water which attracts local visitors during the weekend, but is virtually empty during the week (ther were two other people there today). The spa is an hours ride by car from our front door step or a six hour horseback ride over Mt. Cotacachi where you can stay in overnight facilities at a reasonable price.

The hot waters began pouring out of the mountain after an earthquake in August of 1868, however there were well know pools of medicinal waters in the area from prehispanic times.

This volcanic complex formed about 10,000 years ago. The out of the ground water temperatures range between 92°F and 132°F. The hot water is mixed with cooler water to create pools of differing temperatures. Their chemical composition and characteristics make them among the best in Ecuador as they contain chlorides iron sulfides, copper, fluorine, bromine and iodine. They act as digestives, purgative regulators, stimulants of the cardiovascular system, diuretics and stimulants of the central nervous system.

As you can see from the picture we took the spa is also gloriously beautiful, set in the midst of nature. We hope you'll join us here!

P.S. Join me, Merri, Thomas Fischer of Jyske Bank, tax attorney Joe Cox and Dr. Andres Cordova in Quito next weekend for our International Business and Investing Made EZ course. Learn more about Ecuador. Review where to invest and do business now and learn which markets and currencies may be strong in the year ahead. DETAILS

Or focus on Import-Export with Merri and me and tour Ecuador on our Import Export Expedition

Natural Resources
April, 2006
Natural Resources



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