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Water Company of the Year

For the water company that made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector in 2021.

Manila Water

What is it?

A water concessionaire serving 7 million people in the East Zone of the Philippines’ capital city. It also punches well above its weight in the international water market.

What has it done?

2021 was the year in which Manila Water’s global ambitions truly began to crystallise into reality. Having successfully negotiated an extension to its core Filipino concession – and with a chunky capital injection from a new anchor shareholder in its pocket – there was no stopping the company from pressing its advantage last year, both at home and abroad.

What makes it special?

Although the launch of the Project Phoenix initiative in 2021 heralded the start of an inspirational 12-month journey to transform Manila Water into a global water powerhouse, the seeds had been sown long before. Early in the year, the company underscored its ESG credentials by scooping the prize for the best Asian corporate sustainability bond at the Asset awards.

Manila Water’s commitment to enhancing engagement with both its shareholders and its customers was second to none last year. Having made its interactive customer app fully downloadable for the first time, the company then skilfully negotiated a valuable capital increase to boost its growth ambitions, resulting in the share price rising by more than 50%.


2021 was the breakthrough year for Manila Water on the world stage, as it secured a second high-profile water and wastewater management contract covering the eastern zone of Saudi Arabia. The win, negotiated in collaboration with international partners, cemented Manila Water’s presence in the Middle East, and resoundingly demonstrates the power of Asian water taking on the world – and winning.



What is it?

A Spanish private water operator and EPC contractor serving 45 million people worldwide. It is backed by FCC and private equity house IFM.

What has it done?

Last year was a banner year for Aqualia, as it proved its worth by breaking into a number of new international markets. At the same time, it commissioned the expansion of the giant El Salitre WWTP in Colombia, secured an industrial O&M contract in Saudi Arabia, and took the lead in the green hydrogen revolution in Spain.

What makes it special?

The French water services market has long been closed to all but a few domestic heavyweights. Aqualia’s 2021 success in securing a trio of contracts serving 90,000 people in the Paris region is testament to the group’s unwavering belief that it can bring its vast pool of expertise to bear even in markets with the very highest barriers to entry.

Aqualia had long dreamt of expanding its Eastern European presence beyond the SmVaK concession in the Czech Republic. By making the owner of GGU in Georgia a pre-emptive offer it couldn’t refuse, the Spanish group was able to negotiate the purchase of one of the most sought-after private water utilities in Europe – before anyone else even realised it was for sale.


The company’s relentless dedication to pushing boundaries meant it was the natural choice to lead the flagship Zeppelin and Eclosion projects in Spain. These two pilot initiatives will revolutionise the country’s green hydrogen agenda by deploying innovative technologies to generate H2 from both municipal wastewater and sewage sludge. The scheme has the potential to provide enough fuel to satisfy the energy needs of the entire Spanish railway network.