Privatization advisor contracts signed by SWCC

The contracts for advisors to the programme to privatize the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) in Saudi Arabia were signed on 29 November 2008 in a ceremony attended by the Minister of Water & Electricity, HH Eng Abdullah Alhusayyen, who is chairman of the SWCC board, and the SWCC governor, Fehaid Al-Shareef.

SWCC, the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, signed the contracts to implement the privatizion and restructuring program with a number of qualified international advisors as listed in D&WR on 4 November 2008 in the fields of Strategic, Human Resources, Investment Banking, Change Management, Accounting, Technical and Legal. The contracts will last for 17 months.

The Minister explained that the first project to be offered for private sector participation would be Yanbu and the last would be Jubail. These contracts would ease the transformation of SWCC from a government entity to a holding company, which could be later offered for public shareholding following studies.

Fehaid Al-Shareef said that citizens would start noticing the benefits of these projects after three years. The demand for water would rise to 10 million m³/d, and investments in future projects would reach about Saudi Riyals 160 billion (US$ 42 billion), he said.

Several decrees were issued to face challenges and encourage private sector participation in seawater desalination and power generation. Several entities were established including the Electricity & Combined Production Regulating Authority and the Water Electricity Company as the single buyer for water and electricity from investors, leasing land with minimal symbolic rate to independent water and power projects and adapting the build-own-operate model.