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Consortium launches $320m Asian water fund

Konzen Group, a Singaporean water firm, and AmInvestment Bank, a Malaysian bank, have launched a private equity fund to invest in water treatment and waste water management throughout China and Southeast Asia.

Malaysia’s AmInvestment Bank, and Singapore-based Konzen Group, a water treatment and processing company, have launched a $320 million (€203 million)  fund to invest in water infrastructure assets in Asia.

The two groups will form AmKonzen Water Investments Management, a 50-50 joint venture fund management company that will be based out of Singapore, Angeline Cheong Yoke Wah, group corporate secretary and general manager of Konzen Investments, told PEO.

She said that the fund will invest in water and water-related environmental infrastructure. The focus is on long term infrastructure and will take form through Build-Own-Operate (BOO) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects, mainly in areas such as processing of drinking water and the treatment of waste water.

The AmKonzen Asia Water Fund will invest in Asia, with a focus on water assets in China and Southeast Asia, she said. The fund is expected to close by the end of 2009.

The firms said in a statement that the fund will place an emphasis on municipal water opportunities in northern China to tackle the problem of acute water shortages. In southern China, where pollution control is critical, the fund will focus on industrial water treatment projects. In other Asian countries, it will identify environmentally friendly water projects for investments. The fund will invest in new plants and will acquire equity stakes in existing ones that either require refurbishment, or have the potential to expand.

Yeong Wai Cheong, group managing director and chief executive officer of Konzen, said: “Chinese environmental technologies are now cutting edge and there will come a time soon when these will be exported to the rest of the world.”

The Asian Development Bank estimates that China requires $140 billion in investments in recycled water, and water and waste-water treatment plants, the statement noted.

Konzen Group is involved in designing, supplying and installing of a variety of products used for water treatment and waste water management. It has three main operating divisions – a North Asia engineering division, a South Asia engineering division and a financial division. The first two divisions engage in business development and EPC (engineering, procurement and contracting) while the financial division engages in technology incubation, seed investment and venture capital operations.

AmInvestment provides investment banking, Islamic banking, insurance and trust services to clients in Malaysia. Its private equity division makes late stage investments in manufacturing, business services, energy services and communications technology.