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Spanish Firm Buys Controlling Stake in Georgia’s Major Water Company

Spanish water management company, FCC Aqualia today purchased an 80% economic interest in Georgia Global Utilities, a Tbilisi-based water utility and renewable energy holding serving close to 1.4 million people in the country, for USD 180 million.

The Georgia Global Utilities is a parent company of Georgian Water and Power, which supplies potable water to 510,000 clients in Tbilisi, the capital, and the town of Mtskheta.

The GGU also owns Rustavi Water, which provides water supply and drainage services to more than 53,000 household and non-household customers in the city of Rustavi, and towns of Gardabani and Marneuli in the Kvemo Kartli region.

Besides, it owns eight hydropower plants, including Zhinvali – the second largest HPP in Georgia, and one on-shore wind farm. The aggregate installed capacity of all assets comes in at 240 MW.

The deal between the FCC Aqualia and Georgia Capital, the parent company of the GGU, was structured in two phases. 

With today’s transaction of USD 180 million, the Spanish company has acquired a 65% stake in the GGU including including the water utility and renewable energy assets, and Georgia Capital has retained 35% of the shares. 

But in the second stage of the transaction, conditioned on receiving antitrust clearance, the GGU will spin off its renewable energy assets, retaining only the water utilities business and four of the HPPs associated with the water cycle infrastructures. The demerger will bring Aqualia’s shareholding in GGU up to 80% and Georgian Capital’s down to 20%. 

The second phase is expected to be finalized in July-August 2022, the Georgian capital stated.

FCC Aqualia and Georgian Capital have also granted each other put and call options, respectively, exercisable in 2025 or 2026 for the remaining 20%, the Spanish company reported.

Georgia Capital is a diversified holding company that positions itself as “a platform for buying, building and developing businesses in Georgia.”

Meanwhile, FCC Aqualia is a water management company that currently serves 30 million users in 17 countries, including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Chile, Egypt, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Czech Republic, Romania, and Tunisia.

The company is owned by the Spanish FCC Citizen Services Group (51%) and the Australian IFM Investors (49%), a fund that brings together about 570 institutional investors, including 23 leading pension funds. 

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