The company is acquiring a 95 percent stake in Idex Aquaservices, including debt obligations,according to a GE press release. The sum was not disclosed.
Water is a key processing medium in food manufacturing plants, used for cooling, washing,heating, cooking, sanitising, transport and clean up. Kevin McCarthy, a managing director at GE Energy Financial Services,said the company its plans to use its financial clout to boost Idex Aquaservices' reach. It is thefirst move by GE to invest in the European water market.
Idex Aquaservices is the Boulogne-based subsidiary of Idex Groupe -- one of France's largest private energy and environmental services companies.The subsidiary owns and operates contracted, integrated groundwater extraction and treatment plants for the dairy, meat,poultry, soft drinks, food processing, canned food and cosmetics industries.
"With our financial capability and Idex Aquaservices' world-class technical expertise to manage water assets, we are helpingindustrial companies free up capital for their core manufacturing, creating significant economic benefits forthem," McCarthy said.
The investment is the first for GE Energy Financial Services' water team outside the US and its first in the industrial watertreatment market, which is thought to produce an estimated one-third of all water assets worldwide.
Services (EFS) to increase investments in the water market, where it sees growing opportunitiesin the growing demand and supply shortages.
GE said it aims to build a $1bn portfolio of water investments over the next three years. Itsfirst investment last year was $18m in a four-year-old wastewater reuse plant near Atlanta.
The company estimates that the worldwide water private project finance market amounts to $50bn,as water scarcity and quality concerns increase.
Curtin University in Australia estimates that water used for dairy cleaning systems representsabout 16 per cent of the cost.
The university estimates that green been processing uses up to 65,000 litres of water per tonneof product. Meat packing and milk product production uses up to 18,000 litres per tonne.