United Water acquires U.S. Water's water and wastewater contract operations

Aug. 1, 2002
United Water has acquired the North American water services company U.S. Water LLC, which was owned jointly by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc. and United Utilities Plc. for $40 million.

HARRINGTON PARK, N.J., Aug. 1, 2002 -- United Water has acquired the North American water services company U.S. Water LLC, which was owned jointly by Bechtel Enterprises Holdings, Inc. and United Utilities Plc. for $40 million.

U.S. Water will become a wholly owned subsidiary of United Water, which is a subsidiary of the SUEZ Group's water division, Ondeo.

United Water's acquisition of U.S. Water is in line with SUEZ investment criteria and the company's strategy to substantially grow its water services business in the North American marketplace.

"Our acquisition of U.S. Water is an exciting part of our strategy to substantially grow our water services business in North America," said Michael J. Chesser, Chairman and CEO of United Water. "The addition of U.S. Water's contracts to our strong portfolio establishes us as the dominant player in the water services market in the eastern United States."

Prior to the acquisition, United Water provided water and wastewater services to nearly 3.5 million people throughout eight states in the eastern United States. The U.S. Water acquisition adds 40 water services contracts serving more than 1 million people in five states throughout the eastern U.S. The total annual revenues for U.S. Water's water and wastewater operations were $30 million in 2001.

U.S. Water's largest contract, worth $8.5 million in annual revenue, is for wastewater services in Springfield, MA, and its second largest contract, worth approximately $7.3 million, is for water services in Camden, NJ.

"This strategic acquisition gives us an excellent opportunity to expand our services into the New England area while strengthening our operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey," said Chesser. "U.S. Water's service territories complement those of United Water's and help position us for additional growth in this marketplace."

Over the past six months, United Water, along with its parent company, Ondeo, have won contracts in Puerto Rico, Laredo, TX and Halifax, Canada. According to Chesser, this acquisition further reinforces the company's leadership in the water services market.

"In North America, the market for water and wastewater services has been growing steadily over the last few years as municipalities seek solutions for their water-related needs," said Chesser. "Through this acquisition and its recent contract wins, we are extremely well positioned to take advantage of this market's growth."

In 2001, United Water's parent company, Ondeo, the water division of SUEZ, generated revenues of more than $2 billion in North America. These revenues resulted from the municipal water and wastewater market through its subsidiary United Water, the design and construction of water treatment facilities with Ondeo Degremont, and services to industrial customers with Ondeo Nalco.

About United Water, Ondeo and SUEZ and US Water

United Water, a wholly owned Ondeo subsidiary, is one of the leading water service providers in North America. It serves 12 million people in 17 states in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1869, the company operates public-private partnerships for the country's largest cities, including Atlanta, Milwaukee, Jersey City, Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis. Together, Ondeo and United Water were selected earlier this year to manage the entire water and waste water system for Puerto Rico's nearly 4 million people.

Ondeo, the water division of SUEZ, is the world's premier water-related solutions provider and is present in 130 countries. Ondeo supplies 125 million people with water and wastewater services, provides services to more than 60,000 industrial customers and has built more than 10,000 water-treatment plants worldwide. In North America, Ondeo is the leader in the O&M contract market for water-related services. Ondeo's key businesses are: Ondeo Services (water and waste water services), Ondeo Degremont (water treatment plant engineering), Ondeo Nalco (industrial process water treatment services), and Ondeo Industrial Solutions (Total Water Cycle Management).

SUEZ is one of the world's premier services groups, active in Energy, Water, and Waste Services, with 190,000 employees at work in 130 countries, generating revenues of $42.4 billion in 2001. SUEZ (SZE) is listed on Euronext Paris and Euronext Brussels, as well as on the Luxembourg, Zurich and New York Stock Exchanges.

U.S. Water, founded in 1981, provides water and wastewater contract operations and maintenance services to municipalities and industrial customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and North Carolina. It has 40 contracts producing more than $30 million in sustained annual revenue. Over the last several years, U.S. Water has strengthened its market position, adding several significant contracts to its portfolio including the operations of a 67 MGD wastewater treatment system in Springfield, MA, the management of Camden, NJ's water systems, and the operations of 3 wastewater facilities in Stonington, CT. U.S. Water has approximately 230 employees in its organization.

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