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Veolia water chief sees growth in US advisory services

Veolia Environnement SA (VIE), the world’s biggest water company, says growth in its North American water business unit will come in part from advisory services to large municipal water utilities.

Veolia bid to provide services to Los Angeles and San Diego, which have shown interest in contracting with an outside company to make operations more efficient and cost-effective, Laurent Auguste, president and CEO of Veolia Water Americas, said in an interview at a Bloomberg New Energy Finance Water Leadership Forum in Del Mar.

In April, the Paris-based company said it will advise New York City on how to lower operating costs of water and wastewater services to 9 million people. The four-year contract may be worth $36 million in sales, Veolia said.

“It’s a new trend for municipalities in the U.S. to look to get help from the private sector for operations,” Auguste said Tuesday. “And it is part of our focus to find a different approach to the market.”

Private investment in the $90 billion U.S. municipal water market has been “underdeveloped” in part due to the perception that “private companies running the U.S. water system is not a good thing,” Auguste said.

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