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09.20.2005

Befesa awarded the design, construction and operation of the desalination plant in Minjur (India)

Madrid, September 20, 2005.-The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (MWSSB) awarded the consortium formed by Befesa and the local construction company IVRCL Infrastructures & Projects, the contract for the design, construction and 25-year operation of the 100,000 cubic meters per day capacity Minjur Seawater Desalination Plant (India). The 80 million euro turnkey construction will be the exclusive responsibility of Befesa.

The Chennai MWSSB, a public enterprise under the Regional Government of Tamil Nadu, one of the 33 provinces India is administratively split into, manages the city of Chennai water treatment and supply. This call for bids is part of a series of steps being taken to improve and ensure the drinking water supply, given that, in spite of there being an average annual rainfall of 1,400 liters per square meter, the climatic and orographic features of the region impede the exploitation of the hydric resources.

This situation is reflected in the fact that, from June 2003 to October 2004, following a period of drought in which all the normal resources used for water supply purposes ran out, the Chennai MWSSB had to transport 100 million liters of water a day over distances of up to 120 and 150 kilometers. The population was kept supplied by water tank trucks that filled some 14,000 stationary tanks in the streets on a daily basis.

According to Befesa’s Chairman, Javier Molina, "this desalination plant will greatly contribute to ensuring the supply for Chennai regardless of meteorological circumstances; it will prevent the arising of situations such as those experienced from June 2003 to October 2004". "With these works, Befesa commences operations in the eastern market and consolidates its leadership in the seawater desalination field of activity", added Mr. Molina.

The Plant, to be located in Minjur, in the Gulf of Bengala, will utilize state-of-the-art reverse osmosis desalination technology and will incorporate isobaric chamber energy recovery systems, in which the pressure of the rejected water (brine) is transmitted directly to the input water of the membrane modules that perform the osmosis process, and this reduces energy consumption considerably.

Befesa is the leading company in the national desalination market and a reference in the international market. It specializes in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of large environmental facilities in the desalination sector, an activity it has been carrying for more than 20 years now with an installed capacity in Spain of more than 400,000 cubic meters of water a day, sufficient to supply a population of two million, from the Almeria, Cartagena, Carboneras (Almeria), and El Atabal (Malaga) plants, among others. In addition, Befesa is present on the international scene through different desalination projects, such as those it has already been awarded in Algeria (Skikda and Beni Saf) and India (Chennai). It has also been pre-qualified for different projects in the USA – California (Carlsbad & Huntington Beach), Australia (Sydney), Morocco (Tan Tan), and Algeria (Algiers East, Algiers West, Mostaganem, Tlemcen I and Tlemcen II).

Befesa, Abengoa’s Environmental Services subsidiary, focuses on providing environmental services for industry and on the construction of environmental infrastructures. It is a listed company and closed 2004 with a treasury stock of more than 393 million euro. In 2004, Befesa managed a total of 1,374,000 tons of industrial wastes, a twelve percent increase on the previous year (www.befesa.es)

Abengoa, a listed industrial and technology company with treasury stock of more than 1,200 million euro, provides solutions for Sustainable Development, the Information and Knowledge Society, and the Creation of Infrastructures. It currently operates in four large activity sectors: Bioenergy, where it is the world’s no. 2 bioethanol producer; Environmental Services, where it is European leader in segments of the industrial wastes market; Information Technologies, where it is one of the main role players at international level, with operations in Europe, the Americas, and Asia; and Industrial Engineering and Construction, where it is leader in Spain and Latin America. (www.abengoa.com)