10 More Desalination Companies

October 22. 2014. 4 mins read

Like oil, water is a finite resource.  With over 60% of the Earth’s accessible freshwater supply found in just 10 countries, water is not freely available to everyone in this world. 780 million people throughout the globe lack access to clean water while at the same time Nestle sells over 60 brands of water worldwide. As a global society, we have a long way to go in order to ensure that our population, which increases by 200,000 people per day, has access to clean water. With 85% of the world population living in the driest half of the planet, one solution is to turn salt water into freshwater, a process known as desalination. In an article last month, we presented a list of 20 of the top engineering, procurement and construction contractors for desalination plants constructed between 2000-2011:


Source: www.desalination.com

In that article, we took a look at the top-10 companies in the above list to see if any provided pure-play exposure to desalination. In this article, we take a look at the next 10 companies on the list to see if any are viable for investors who are looking for exposure to desalination.


Biwater is a private UK based company involved in the provision of clean water and the treatment of wastewater. The company has the largest installed capacity of membranes in the United States as well as the largest installed capacity of membrane bio-reactors (MBR’s) in the UK. Membranes are a key part of a reverse-osmosis desalination system.


Based out of Spain, Tedagua designs, constructs, maintains desalination plants and plants for recycling water from sewerage feedwater. With water treatment contracts in all five continents, the Company considers itself to be a world leader in the water treatment sector. Tedagua is part of the Spanish construction giant, the ACS Group. With over $56 billion in revenues in 2013, ACS is the #1 international contractor in the world by revenues, of which desalination is a small part.


With 40 years experience, Spanish company Cadagua is a leader in the field of water and sewage treatment and seawater desalination. Cadagua is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spain’s Ferrovial SA (BME:FER), a $14.5 billion multinational company engaged in the transportation infrastructure sector.


With Saudi Arabia having more desalination plants than any other country in the world, it’s not surprising to see a Saudi-based company on the list. Privately held Wetico is a 100 employee company which builds and runs water, desalination, sewage, and wastewater treatment plants. Wetico was awarded the contract to build Shoaiba Barge, the largest offshore desalination plant in the world designed to ease the water shortage in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia.

Nomura Micro Science

Nomura Micro Science is a $32 million micro-cap company that trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO:6254) and is involved in water treatment and chemicals. The Company has a proprietary reverse osmosis system called HERO which they claim has overcome all disadvantages of a conventional reverse osmosis system. No breakdown of revenues is provided in the financials, so it is difficult to know what percentage is coming from desalination. The company history on the website listing accomplishments over the past 44 years mentions nothing about desalination.


GS Inima is a worldwide leader in the water treatment sector with more than 200 water treatment installations. Inima is part of the GS E&C group which has holding companies in the areas of engineering, construction, and environmental services. Inima claims to have developed the first desalination plant in the world. Today, they have 30 desalination plants in Spain, Algeria, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S.


According to Global Water Intelligence, aqualia is currently the third-largest water management company in the world. Aqualia is owned by FCC (BME:FCC), a $2.5 billion publicly traded Spanish company with 63,000 employees which is involved in infrastructure, environmental services, and energy. Just 15% of FCC’s total revenues are from water management, 80% of which are from Spain. Spain is the country with the 4th largest number of desalination plants in the world.


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a $20.5 billion diversified manufacturer which is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO:7011). The Company is primarily involved in marine vessels, power engines, general machinery, aviation, and special vehicles. With over 80,000 employees and over 390 group companies, Mitsubishi’s desalination business makes up a small part of the Company’s overall business activities.


Founded in 1981, Pittsburgh-based Aquatech is a private company with more than 600 employees and offices around the globe. Aquatech claims to be one of the few companies in the world offering both membrane-based and thermal water desalination technologies. The Company has a broad offering of water treatment solutions targeting various industries.

Kurita Water Industries

Kurita is a $2.5 billion water treatment company that is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO:6370). The company’s business is split about equally between water treatment chemicals and water treatment facilities. In this 4-page document describing the company’s products and services, not one mention is made of desalination leading us to believe that this occupies a small portion of the company’s business.


For investors looking for exposure to desalination, none of these 10 companies we have looked at would qualify as “pure plays” on desalination. Between this article and our last article, none of the 20 companies we have evaluated provide investors with pure play exposure to desalination except publicly traded Singapore company Hyflux (SGX:600) which we may look to highlight in a future article.


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  1. Nowhere have I seen the UK quoted company Modern Water PLC mentioned. Following are details of the company:

    About Modern Water

    Modern Water owns, installs and operates world-leading membrane technology and develops and supplies advanced systems for water monitoring. Its shares trade on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

    Modern Water has developed and commercialised world-leading patented Forward Osmosis desalination technology which can be used in a variety of industries. Its benefits include lower energy consumption, improved water quality and lower environmental impact. With a sales presence in almost 60 countries, the Group’s Monitoring Division includes a leading real-time continuous toxicity monitor and trace metal analysers for monitoring the quality of drinking water.


    1. Thank you for the comment Andrew. We’ll take a look at Modern Water and see if we can highlight the Company in a future article.

  2. Modern Water appears to have operated at a loss in both 2013 and 2014, and its revenue was substantially less in 2014 than in the previous year.

  3. I have found this article to be very useful. I’m part of a team that’s working on a potential desalination project in southern Africa.

    I was wondering if you could update the information?


    1. We’re sincerely glad to hear that’s useful for you!

      We sure can update the article (it’s about due for one). When would you be free to help us with that?

      All joking aside, we’ll add a desalination update to our to-do!

  4. Hello,

    Good morning. Could you assist I am trying to obtain costs for a water pipeline to run from 500m of the ocean’s surface to a desalination plant.


    Diane Roessler Weinert

    1. Dear Diane,

      We checked around the office. While some of our MBAs have loads of experience laying pipe, we feel this particular project would fall outside our expertise. It’s probably best that you reach out directly to vendors with your query.

      Best regards,