Full steam ahead for Ajman sewerage BOT

10 May 2002

Plans for the UAE's first build-operate-transfer (BOT) wastewater project passed a key milestone on 1 May, when the Ajman ruler, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid al-Nuaimi, enacted the emirate's first sewerage law. The enactment clears the way for the new utility company, Ajman Sewerage (Private) Company, to begin registering properties to be connected to the $140 million wastewater network (Water, MEED Special Report, 25:1:02, pages 25-26).

The law formally establishes the creation of Ajman Sewerage, which will build, operate and manage the system for 25 years. It also stipulates that every property owner in Ajman must register his or her property with the concession company. Each property owner is required by the law to contribute to the construction of the network through payment of a connection fee, which will depend on the size of the individual property.

Property registration is expected to start by late May and take about three months to complete. In parallel with the registration, the company is looking to complete financial close. A bank group is expected to be selected in early June to arrange on a club basis a $70 million loan, which will cover the project's debt requirements. Fuji Bank, which is now part of the Mizuho Financial Group, is acting as financial adviser.

Ajman Sewerage is currently a 50:50 venture between US-based Black & Veatch Corporationand the UK's Thames Water. As soon as financial close has been achieved, the shareholding structure will be expanded. The Ajman government will come on board taking a 20 per cent stake and up to two other shareholders will purchase stakes.

The network will comprise a new wastewater treatment plant, over 15 pumping stations and 200 kilometres of pipeline to connect more than 40,000 individual properties. Black & Veatch Constructionis the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. It will be assisted on the mechanical works by the UK's Paterson Candyand Belgium's Six Construct, which is the civils subcontractor.

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