Wastewater contract helps Aqualia enter Balkans

A European Investment Bank funded contract has seen Aqualia selected to build a 15,500 m3/day wastewater plant in Montenegro's second largest city, Niksic...

A European Investment Bank funded contract has seen Aqualia selected to build a 15,500 m3/day wastewater plant in Montenegro's second largest city, Niksic.

The 14 million euro contract represents the Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) subsidiary's first step into the Balkans and the development will help serve 100,000 people.

Water is one of the biggest natural resources in Montenegro, with 52% of the country's land containing rivers which eventually find their way to the Danube. However, according to the UN, water quality is one of the most neglected segments of the water sector. Investment opportunities exist for sewage collection, disposal and treatment.

In light of the firm's aims to further secure contracts in central and eastern Europe, it has created a joint venture with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to form Aqualia New Europe, in which the EBRD owns 49%.

EBRD provided 80 million euros to the venture, which will target water management system improvements in Central and Eastern Europe through direct investments in infrastructure or equity stakes in companies that manage water services.

The firm said central and eastern Europe has become a strategic growth area since it acquired SmVaK, the leading water services company in the Moravian-Silesian region, which serves 1.2 million people. SmVaK is an example of company that provides crossborder water supply, serving 100,000 people in Poland.

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