x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai water treatment specialist Metito aims to double revenue through expansion

$1bn target within five years with sales growing at double-digit pace.

The Dubai-based water and wastewater specialist Metito plans to nearly double its revenue to US$1 billion in five years as it expands deeper into emerging markets.

Fady Juez said the company’s sales already have been growing at a double-digit pace.

“We are about half a billion in revenue,” Mr Juez said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Looking ahead, he said: “Our business plan says we are going to be a billion dollars in turnover in the next 5 years.”

Metito currently operates in Mena and South-east Asia. The International Finance Corp, a unit of the World Bank, owns about 6 per cent of Metito and the Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital owns 56 per cent, with family shareholders owning the rest.

“We believe there is a large potential growth in the existing markets that we are presently in,” said Mr Juez.

“The markets of Egypt and Libya are extremely large and were hindered by the political turbulence that happened, but now they are coming back.’’

Another major market for Metito is Iraq, which Mr Juez said is “opening up and as the situation normalises it is going to increase tremendously.”

The company has a presence in Thailand and from there it intends to expand into Vietnam and Myanmar. It is also targeting growth in sub-Saharan and CIS countries and has projects in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

Governments around the Mena region are investing more in water and water treatment plants because of the scarcity of this commodity in the arid Arabian Gulf region.

Metito has two business units. One is its engineering, procurement and construction unit, which has its biggest market in the Middle East. It also builds, owns and operates utilities, with China its biggest market. It has a global project portfolio exceeding $1 billion.

The company is on the lookout for prospective takeovers.

“We always look for takeover, operate and transfer [assets],’’ said Mr Juez. “We also have an active target for M&A [mergers and acquisitions]to serve our growth plans regionally and product-wise. We have an appetite to acquire companies if something is interesting.’’

Metito, which has a permanent workforce of 2,500, is competing in the water and water treatment market with international players such as the French companies Veolia Environment and Suez Environment.

Although Metito has yet to raise money in the fixed income market, it is looking at this option, Mr Juez added. The company is not looking at an initial public offering for the time being.

“We have not yet approached the bond market. It is something that is certainly we are looking at, trying to understand it. You need a specific size to be able to have a successful bond and you need the financial climate to support it,’’ he said.

“We have a large utility side to our business, which is the business where we invest and own assets and we build them and we operate them for a long time.

“This is also obviously capital-intensive and hence we have been raising finance to grow the business.’’

Last July, Metito signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation to obtain $50 million in loans, in addition to a $20m loan from the German development finance institution, DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft.

Metito expects to get more loans from the IFC in the future, depending on project needs, Juez added. 

business@thenational.ae