Monday, October 17, 2011

No. 100: Water business in Japan and the world (19) (October 18, 2011)

Strategy of the world leader Veolia
The privatized water business is supposed to cover about 800 million people worldwide on the water supply base, and the two French majors, Veolia and Suez Environment, cover 160 million people combined. Established in 1853, Veolia is the world’s oldest and largest water service company with sales of 12.5 billion euro, almost two times more sales achieved by Suez Environment, and nearly 100,000 people are working for this company.

Veolia dates back to a company established by the Napoleon III in 1853 to manage waterworks in Paris. Since 1884, the company has actively been expanding the business worldwide, and it covers about 140 people in 64 countries at present. It conducts a wide range of business including designing, procurement of materials, construction of facilities, and operation and management of the business. Especially, it excels at the operation and management that is the largest market in the water business. In addition to providing water treatment from water intake to water discharge, it offers a wide spectrum service that includes preservation of water resources, seawater desalination, and collection of charges.

It has competitive advantage in estimating precisely the needs of a customer and draws a proposal most suitable to the customer. For example, it made a successful bid in the tender for the management of a sewage treatment plant in Chiba Prefecture in 2009, though it outbid the competitors. This is because its proposal contained the plan to automate the measurement of water quality and introduce photovoltaic generation. It dispatches its staffs to public agencies of the target country and makes them involved in the project planning from the initial stage, while building close relations with international agencies. It procures a large sum of capital for investment from investment funds, and the country backs it up as the sales activities of the French president show.

In fact, Veolia has the following six advantages: (1) a big company size, (2) a wide range of business scope, (3) accumulated results, (4) the ability to draw an attractive proposal, (5) national support, and (6) excellent financial power. It is not too much to say that the ability to promote a project in an integrated manner is vital to the expansion of the water business to a foreign country. (To be continued)

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