Sasakura eyes large Middle East desalination units

Sasakura Engineering Co is teaming up with fellow Japanese company Itochu Corp to enter the business of large-scale desalination plants in the Middle East.

The company recently completed test facilities in Osaka that can produce 35,000 m³/d of fresh water.

Up till now, Sasakura has primarily offered maintenance services and sold units costing 2-3 billion yen (US$ 22.5-33.7 million) that can each treat 9,000 m³/d. Now, it has decided that selling larger units is vital to expanding the business and aims to clinch its first such order during 2010.

To do so, the company plans to engage in sales activities with Itochu, mostly in such Middle Eastern countries as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It also hopes to expand sales in Australia and regions outside the Middle East where Itochu has a presence. Sasakura may partner with other trading houses in other geographical regions.

The large plants Sasakura will begin selling can produce fresh water on the same scale as plants made by major French manufacturer Sidem (a Veolia company), which has a large share of the Middle Eastern market. Sales of 40-50 billion yen (US$ 449.4-561.8 million) can be expected if 10 desalination units are delivered for a single plant.