Japan and Saudi to create desalination giant
Firms to build MENA's first element manufacturing plant
In a landmark deal, two Japanese firms have signed a deal with Saudi infrastructure developer ACWA Holding to create a joint venture that will assist desalination projects in the Kingdom.
Called Arabian Japanese Membrane Company, the new firm will have an estimated capital of $347m. Estimated total investment into the partnership over the next decade is expected to weigh in at around $352m.
Membranes expert Toyobo and plant builder Itochu Corporation will club together with ACWA to manufacture reverse osmosis (RO) elements in the first plant of its kind in the MENA region.
The factory will be based in Rabigh Technical Park, 150 kilometres north of Jeddah.
“The manufacturing facility with production is scheduled to begin in March 2011 localising the vital and the latest technology from Toyobo," Saudi Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen told reporters, according to Arab News.
Given its climate, the Middle East is the world’s largest regional market for desalination, and Saudi Arabia is the global leader in terms of demand.