Impregilo launches desalination joint venture with Chinese

Impregilo, Italy’s largest construction company, which owns desalination specialist Fisia Italimpianti, signed a letter of intent on 7 October 2010 with Shanghai Electric Group, Mandarin Capital Partners (MCP) and China Development Bank Securities (CDBS) to cooperate in the desalination industry.

Its aim is to relaunch its loss-making desalination business by creating a new joint venture that could become the world’s largest desalination contractor.

News agency Reuters quotes a Milan analyst as saying that joining forces with the Chinese would boost Impregilo’s bidding power and make procurement of components easier, giving it an edge once the market picks up. Losses at its plant-building unit Fisia Italimpianti helped send Impregilo’s first-half net profit down 30%.

“The signing of this agreement will allow the group, thanks to the synergies we can create between the know-how accrued by Fisia Italimpianti and the industrial capabilities of Shanghai Electric, to be more competitive on world markets,” commented Alberto Rubegni, CEO of Impregilo. “The interest shown in this by two such qualified institutional partners as MCP and CDBS is a further sign of the importance of this strategic partnership.”