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Water Company of the Year: Shortlist

For the water company that made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector in 2020.

Shortlisted Nominees



What is it?

A global water and wastewater specialist operating through three main business lines: Design-build, concessions, and specialty chemicals.

What has it done?

A tough year for new projects in 2020 failed to intimidate Metito, which scored huge successes in both infrastructure delivery and investment. At the same time as scooping up a host of the most prominent water projects in major MENA countries, the company tapped up new opportunities in a bold continuation of its arms-open approach to new or developing markets.

What makes it special?

A frantically busy year for Metito’s design-build business saw it push the boundaries of project scale, design, and performance. Floating desalination barges for shipping client Bahri and a solar-driven desal plant finalised on a breakneck schedule at the Neom development were accompanied by large-scale membrane references in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as colossal wastewater projects. In 2020 the company proved beyond all doubt that it can take on and deliver the largest and most complex water construction contracts around.

Metito’s concessions wing blazed a trail for private finance in both established and developing markets last year. Financial close on Saudi Arabia’s first independent sewage treatment plant at Dammam planted a flag for wastewater PPPs in the Middle East’s largest water market, providing a blueprint for the future of sewage infrastructure in the Kingdom.


Meanwhile, concessions work carved open new markets for Metito, while offering countries and utilities new models to realise major changes on the ground. The completion of a first-of-its-kind PPP project in Kigali, Rwanda, secured almost 40% of potable water requirements for the whole country, while a groundbreaking wastewater PPP deal in Zrenjanin (Serbia), provided a triumphant entry point into Europe.


Miya Water

What is it?

A Madrid-based “efficiency-oriented” water operator active in Portugal, the Caribbean, Brazil, the Philippines, and Southern Africa.

What has it done?

Miya reinvented the role of the private sector in water operations by bringing together innovative technologies, finance, and resource management expertise to create an unbeatable efficiency proposition for both its public sector clients and its shareholders. The company’s actions have saved 150 million m3/d of water, and connected more than 3 million people to a 24/7 drinking water supply. Beyond this, the company has also been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, delivering hygiene supplies and food relief to hard-pressed communities in Jamaica, donating 44 hospital beds and an intensive care unit to healthcare professionals in Portugal, and providing 150 computers to help families deal with remote learning.

What makes it special?

Contract extensions in Jamaica and the Bahamas show how Miya’s performance-based contractual model has provided a lifeline to utilities struggling with the impact of high levels of non-revenue water.

Miya is one of the most powerful value creation stories in the water sector in 2020. It was bought in 2019 by Bridgepoint for around €400 million, and then sold last November for around €700 million. The astonishing growth in the company’s valuation was created entirely from efficiencies, without the need to cut staff or raise tariffs.


At the same time as delivering incredible shareholder value, the company has also invested heavily in its Portuguese concessions and the communities they serve. The practical knowledge gained will underpin Miya’s global growth ambitions for years to come.



What is it?

A €1.5 billion-a-year global water pure-play active in the municipal and industrial markets from its base near Paris. It is majority owned by EQT Partners.

What has it done?

In 2020, Saur revolutionised the way it is perceived by clients and competitors alike, after incoming CEO Patrick Bléthon shook things up both at home and abroad. The rapid build-up of a world-class industrial water division was helped by a trio of acquisitions, while the creation of ten new operational control centres in France was accompanied by a commitment to invest €120 million in digital innovation over three years. The company’s efforts to place the client at the heart of its raison d’être as a service provider helped it secure a flagship management contract serving 3.5 million people in Saudi Arabia in December – a fitting end to a transformative year.

What makes it special?

For years, Saur languished under the dubious accolade of being France’s third-largest private water company. In 2020, it proved that it is much more than that, restructuring its domestic division for renewed growth, and making bold international moves in Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and the Indian Ocean.

The acquisitions of Nijhuis Industries (Netherlands), Econvert (Netherlands) and Unidro (Italy) demonstrate the scale of Saur’s ambition to build a €500 million-a-year industrial water powerhouse within five years. The consolidation of Portuguese concessionaire Aquapor, meanwhile, demonstrates a canny ability to see new opportunities far beyond traditional markets.


Sometimes it takes a visionary leader from outside the industry to transform a good water company into a great one. Bléthon’s willingness to take bold actions and think outside the box have inspired new levels of respect both within the company and among its rivals.


SKion Water

What is it?

The water-oriented investment platform of German entrepreneur Susanne Klatten, with global revenues of €700 million.

What has it done?

2020 was the year it all came together for SKion Water as a group. By buying out the remaining shareholders in Ovivo and Paques and complementing its pharma offering with the purchase of Letzner, SKion Water is increasingly able to leverage synergies across its global portfolio. Last year it proved time and again that its palette of complete solutions for blue-chip industrial and municipal customers not only makes economic sense, but benefits the environment, whether through micropollutant removal, methane reduction, or tackling the combined sewer overflow challenge in North America.

What makes it special?

SKion Water has judged the balance between entrepreneurialism and synergy to perfection. Its portfolio companies enjoy a high degree of independence, while the group structure enables them to work together seamlessly to deliver comprehensive solutions to key industry sectors.

As an anchor investor in Emerald Technology Ventures’ global water innovation impact fund, the group can now source a much broader range of opportunities for collaborative solutions across the globe. Furthermore, by positioning itself as an end-to-end water and wastewater solutions provider in the pharma value chain, it has expertly captured the zeitgeist of the vaccination age.


The environmental imperative lies at the heart of SKion Water’s commercial offering. Its vacuum degassing technology reduces GHGs by preventing the escape of methane from sludge digestate, while its solutions for micropollutant removal and combined sewer overflow treatment significantly reduce the need for large-scale civil works. In the battle for net zero, SKion Water’s green heart beats more strongly than ever.


The Global Water Awards 2021 is proudly sponsored by:

Dupont Water Solutions

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