By Tang See Kit, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 24 June 2009 2052 hrs

HyfluxVenture SINGAPORE: Singapore-based water treatment firm Hyflux has made its first foray into Libya. It has entered a joint venture to invest and develop two seawater desalination plants there.

The plants which use membrane-based reverse osmosis technology will be located in Libya's two largest cities - Tripoli and Benghazi.

Hyflux signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the General Desalination Company (GDC), the commercial arm of Libya's Ministry of Utilities on Wednesday.

The two plants will provide a combined total of at least 900,000 cubic metres of drinking water every day.

This exceeds another Hyflux project in Algeria which is the current single largest desalination plant in the world with a capacity of 500,000 cubic metres per day.

That project has a value of S$632 million.

Hyflux will be providing the two plants with its award winning Kristal Ultra Filtration pretreatment membrane and process technology.

Hyflux did not provide a specific investment figure for its latest projects.

But it hopes to set "new benchmarks in terms of size and efficiency" for the Libyan plants.

The developments are also in line with the company's strategy to focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Sam Ong, group deputy, CEO/CFO, Hyflux, said: "This is a very iconic, significant milestone for Hyflux. This is a new geographical expansion. We believe we are going to put more resources into the MENA region, and that includes Libya. And we believe North Africa and the Middle East region will continue to be big market potential for Hyflux. This will add significantly to what we are able to do in Singapore, Southeast Asia, India and China."

The details of the joint venture project including conceptual designs and finance models will be finalised in the months ahead.

Hyflux also said it will be talking to bankers recommended by its Libyan partners to discuss project financing.

The construction timeline has not been finalized but Hyflux said the plants will be built one after another. - CNA/vm

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