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Water Deal of the Year

For the project finance deal, signed in 2019, which made the biggest contribution to the advancement of private sector participation in the international water sector. See the full shortlist showreel here.

Kanpur STP financing, India

What is it?

The financing package supporting the INR8.2 billion ($114 million) project that will see the construction of three sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Kanpur city, Uttar Pradesh with a combined capacity of 50,000m3/d, alongside rehabilitation of an existing STP and extensive network improvements.

Who is involved?

The project is being developed under a 15-year hybrid annuity model (HAM) contract by a consortium of Shapoorji Pallonji and SSG Infratech on behalf of the client, local utility UP Jal Nigam, which was supported by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) programme. Debt finance for the privately-financed portion of the deal was provided by IndusInd Bank.

What makes it special?

The project was the largest to reach financial close in 2019 under the NMCG programme and provides a vision of the scale and importance of works that can be completed under the crucial national effort, at a time when the returning government promised to extend the model created by the NMCG to every part of the country.

The deal acted as pathfinder by combining the complex structure of the HAM contract model with the ‘one-city, one-operator’ model where related infrastructure is clustered under a single operator.


The streamlining of operations demonstrates that PPP can pay off away from process plant contracts in India, and offer a holistic solution in the worst-polluting city on the holy Ganga river.

The scale of the project, and the willingness to innovate at Kanpur have given a big impetus post-to a lacklustre project finance market in India and have encouraged larger players to participate in bids for projects. The future looks bright for private finance in India.


Shuqaiq 3 IWP financing, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

A $600 million funding deal assembled to fund the construction of a 450,000m3/d privately owned desalination plant on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

Who is involved?

The project was rolled out by the country’s central PPP body the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC). The 25-year build-own-operate contract was secured by a project development team comprising Marubeni (45%), Almar Water Solutions (30%), Rawafid Holding (15%) and Acciona (10%). $450 million of senior debt was provided by a team of banks including local players NBC and Samba, and international lenders Crédit Agricole, MUFG, Norinchukin and SMBC.

What makes it special?

Despite the scale of the plant and the relative newness of the revitalised Saudi water PPP project rollout, the developers secured final signoff on the financing package less than three months after the signing of the water purchase agreement – a stunning testament to the security of the Saudi project finance market, and the sustainability of a market where dozens of major projects are lined up for the years to come.

The billions of debt that will be required to sustain Saudi Arabia’s PPP rollout will require a colossal amount of liquidity from the international banking sector: the close involvement of both Saudi lenders and the best of the international debt providers shows that there is no limit to the appetite for Saudi water investment from the very highest echelons of the regional and international banking sector.


Despite security threats in the region to water infrastructure, procurement of the project and the financial package proceeded at a rapid and smooth pace. The combination of hungry debt investors, skilled project developers and a buccaneering and reactive offtaker meant the project came in priced at a highly-competitive tariff of $0.52/m3, pushing the envelope of desalination pricing to the limit.

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