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Looking for a good investment idea during this time of great volatility in the equities market? You might want to consider a stock of a company that provides water services for countries that don’t have readily available fresh water.
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd (CWCO), was incorporated in 1973 and uses reverse osmosis technology to make freshwater from seawater. It processes and supplies water to customers in the Cayman Islands, Belize, Barbados, The British Virgin Islands and The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. They sell water to a variety of customers, including public utilities, commercial and tourist properties, residential properties and government facilities.
In 1979, the Company was granted an exclusive 20-year franchise to supply the famed Seven Mile Beach tourist area. This franchise was replaced, in 1990, with a new 20-year exclusive franchise for both Seven Mile Beach and the residential district of West Bay.
The 1990 franchise introduced a new business model which is now used throughout the Company's operations. The base selling price of water is fixed in the franchise which provides for monthly billing adjustments for changes in the cost of fuel and annual billing adjustments for changes in inflation. The Company has a right of first refusal on the renewal of the franchise.
The Company installed its first Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) plant in 1989 and, therefore, has more than 17 years of design insight and operational experience with this technology. SWRO is used in all the Group's operations.
In July 2000, Consolidated Water acquired Belize Water Ltd. which supplies up to 510,000 US gallons of water per day to the operator of the distribution system on Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America. In 2003, a new 23-year exclusive supply agreement was signed with the Belize distributor.
Consolidated Water moved into the Bahamian market in July of 2001 by supplying and operating a plant under a ten-year agreement to produce up to 115,000 US gallons per day for the Bimini Sands marina and resort development in South Bimini. Construction of the development continues at a steady pace and is now more than half completed.
In February 2003, through the acquisition of five companies from multiple investors, Consolidated Water commenced operations in Barbados, obtained affiliate operations in the British Virgin Islands and expanded its operations in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
The Company owns 50% of the voting shares and has Engineering and Management Services Agreements with its affiliate Ocean Conversion (BVI) that operates plants on Tortola and Jost Van Dyke and supplies water to the government of the British Virgin Islands for distribution. Design and construction of a 40% capacity increase of the Tortola plant was completed in November 2003 and the plant is now capable of supplying up to 1.7 million US gallons per day. A second plant, to supply 700,000 US gallons per day, primarily, to the Eastern end of Tortola was completed in 2006 and OC-BVI hopes to begin selling water from this plant in 2007.
Through private transactions and a tender offer, Consolidated Water acquired approximately 91% of the issued shares of Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. that produces and supplies water to the Water & Sewerage Corporation of the Government of the Bahamas to distribute to Nassau and the remainder of New Providence Island. In 2006, the Company completed construction of a new plant in the Bahamas and a 20-year contract and now supplies up to 11.3 U.S. million gallons of water per day in the Bahamas.
In late 2006, the Company began expansion of two plants on Grand Cayman that will increase its production capacity on the island by 1.8 million U.S. gallons per day.
As a result of the 2003 acquisitions, Consolidated Water now has “in house” SWRO engineering, design, construction and plant management and operation capability and is the exclusive distributor in the Caribbean basin, under a seven-year agreement, for DWEER™ energy recovery systems used in SWRO plants. Minimizing energy consumption is one of the key elements in the commercial application of SWRO technology and, based on its operating specifications, the DWEER™ system is one of the most energy efficient of its kind in the world.