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"
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.