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AI Profile: Wessex Asset Management taps demand for water

Companies working on improving inadequate water supplies in Asia’s growing economies are the prime focus of Wessex’s water investment fund. Co-founder Tim Weir tells Helen Avery how the company analyses their likely profitability.

"China has identified over $100 billion that needs to be invested in water over the next five years"
Tim Weir, Wessex Asset Management

Tim Weir, Wessex Asset Management

Worldwide, one person in three has insufficient water. China, the world’s fastest-growing economy, is water-poor; it has between one-third and one-quarter of the global average amount of fresh water per inhabitant, and most of its cities have inadequate sewerage infrastructure. Most Indians lack access to clean water; even in affluent, middle-class areas of New Delhi, water is often turned on for just half an hour a day, forcing residents to rise at 5am to fill pots and baths. Urbanization and population growth are driving up demand, and supply is limited, so prices of water and water-related services are increasing. It’s below the radar screen of most investors but the price of water is rising on average at about 10% a year. Investment opportunities are therefore emerging. Tim Weir and Peter Chesterfield of London-based Wessex Asset Management have started a water investment fund to explore these opportunities. They set up Wessex in 1999, initially running an Asian long/short fund, utilizing the skills they had learned as Asian fund managers at Abbey Life.