Vivendi Subsidiary Buys Half of Chinese Drinking Water Venture

France's Vivendi Environnement SA announced today it agreed to acquire a 50 percent interest in a Chinese joint venture that will provide drinking water to Shanghai residents, for US $245 million.

The 50-year production, distribution, and management contract to provide drinking water to Shanghai's Pudong business district is the first of its kind awarded to a foreign company in China.

Vivendi Environnement, a French utilities services company which has been keen to diversify beyond its geographic bases in France and the United States – especially with USFilter – said the contract should generate around US $920 million in revenue.

The company, which is 63 percent-owned by media and entertainment company Vivendi Universal SA, said it will supply drinking water to 550,000 customers. It noted, however, that 1.9 million people live in Pudong, with that population projected to grow to 5 million.

"This important success considerably reinforces the position of Vivendi Water on the Asian market," the company spokesman said.

Vivendi Environnement secured its first water contact in China in 1997, and completed a water-treatment facility in Chengdu in China in 2001. Its Onyx waste-services unit manages sites in the cities of Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao.

The Associated Press

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