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More households to get clean piped water after acquisition

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
L to R: Shivam Tripathi (Director, OBOR Capital), Christopher Forsinetti (Chairperson, OBOR Capital and KWSH), Dalis Chhorn (Director, KWSH), Nicholas Lazos (Director, KWSH and Insitor), William Puyo (General Manager, KWSH), Christopher Dart-Smith (Venture Development Manager, Insitor). KT/ Sok Chan

Khmer Water Supply Holding (KWSH), has acquired a fifth water station in Kampong Trabaek district, Prey Veng province.

KWSH, which was incubated in 2013 by the founding team of OBOR Capital as project promoter and social venture capital Fund Insitor, made the purchase from Dalis Chhorn, formerly the sole owner of the Kampong Trabaek water station.

The value of the deal remains undisclosed. The water distribution licence for the newly acquired water station covers a total of 14,000 households in Kampong Trabaek district, out of which only 3,000 households are covered by piped infrastructure.

KWSH will invest new capital needed to install more than 180 kilometres of main and secondary pipelines to cover an additional 9,000 households. The integration of this new station brings KWSH’s coverage to nearly 200,000 individuals across all areas where the utility company is licensed to operate.

KWSH’s efforts will vastly improve the health and quality of lives of rural households in Cambodia by providing clean water, which is safe for drinking and hygienic, consequently reducing the incidence of waterborne illnesses and poor sanitation.

Furthermore, the water is available year-round at the turn of a tap. This reliability alleviates the severe pressures of the dry season on households when wells and other sources regularly become depleted, forcing people to resort to costly alternatives such as bottled water or delivery by truck.

Finally, households with piped water are released from the burden of collecting water from inconvenient sources, a burden which traditionally falls on the women and children in a household.

Dalis Chhorn, who sold the business to KWSH through a share swap, is joining KWSH’s board of directors. This acquisition is slated to provide a strong foundation from which KWSH expects to commence its next stage of growth.

“People living in Kampong Trabaek area are the stakeholders that will receive the most benefits from this merger of Kampong Trabaek into KWSH. As a part of KWSH, Kampong Trabaek station will be able to extend our pipe network to fully cover the licensed area within the next five years,” said Dalis Chhorn, shareholder and board member of KWSH.

Kampong Trabaek represents not only our largest station to date in terms of total households in the licensed area, but it is also our most ambitious expansion plan yet with a single station. The current infrastructure coverage is only just over 20 percent, which highlights an all too common issue in rural Cambodia: Many households are simply excluded from the piped water market as they have no option to connect, said William Puyo, general manager of KWSH.

We are actively raising funds and seeking new acquisition opportunities while developing existing stations with the aim of connecting half a million rural Cambodians to piped water over the next 10 years, said  Puyo.

“The acquisition of Kampong Trabaek station is a major milestone for KWSH and a great achievement for both teams. Only 5 percent of rural households in Cambodia have access to potable water, and we believe that KWSH will be the leading company to change this by bringing clean water to rural Cambodians.

Dalis and her team bring invaluable local insights and experience in this sector to continue our growth and we see a lot of potential in creating a positive social impact as well as generating financial returns for our shareholders,” said Christophe Forsinetti, chairperson of KWSH and OBOR Capital.

Currently, more than 80 percent of urban areas nationwide have access to clean water, which is provided by state-run water supply authorities and private clean water distributors that are granted licences to operate in areas not connected to the clean-water pipelines.

As planned, by 2025, all urban areas across the country should have to access to clean water. Currently, there are 11 state-owned water supplier authorities and another 258 private clean water suppliers that have received licences from the ministry. About 30 million cubic metres of clean water are used every day in Cambodia.

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