February 21, 2018 / 2:43 PM / 10 months ago

Saudi water distribution utility hires adviser to bring in private sector

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on Mizuho Bank's signboard in Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s state-owned utility National Water Co (NWC) has hired Japan’s Mizuho Bank to advise it on bringing private companies into the water distribution sector, NWC said on Wednesday.

International firms will be invited to bid for six regional management contracts for water distribution facilities lasting between three and seven years, NWC said without specifying when bids would start. The contracts would prepare the sector for privatization.

In the second stage, standards and conditions would be set to allow the conversion of the contracts into concession arrangements for companies.

Mizuho will work with technical consultants Atkins and legal consultants White & Case, NWC said. Under reforms to make the economy more efficient, the government wants to involve the private sector in many areas; last month it announced a tender for private firms to build and maintain 60 schools.

Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Louise Heavens

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