An inside view of the industrial water investment opportunity



A new investment fund has attracted $300 million to target the industrial market for outsourced water projects. Keith Hayward spoke with Lydia Whyatt, managing director of Resonance Asset Management, as the fund steps up its efforts to secure projects around the world.

Coal mining in China. Credit: Captain Yeo /
The Resonance fund's first opportunity is for a coal to chemical plant in China. Credit: Captain Yeo /

As managing director of Resonance Asset Management, Lydia Whyatt is leading the investment process for the Resonance Industrial Water Infrastructure Fund, launched as the world’s first institutional investment fund exclusively for financing industrial water infrastructure projects in Europe and Asia Pacific. The first investments in the fund were announced just over a year ago and commitments closed at the end of this July at a total of around $300 million. ‘What we are offering is, I would say, pretty unique,’ she says. ‘We had a lot of interest.’

Resonance is a boutique investment firm affiliated to investment management company Fidante Partners. The intention is that the new fund will provide the finance for build-operate-transfer projects in which operating partners will deliver outsourced water and wastewater treatment plants for industrial clients.

With the investor commitments now in place, Whyatt and her team are focused on securing project wins for the fund. Certainly she sees it is a market in which interest will only grow. Industry is the sector that makes the largest withdrawals of water in the developed world, she points out. Meanwhile, industrialisation in the developing world will push up demand for water, compounded by a rise in energy demand, which also requires water – a ‘double whammy of water’, as Whyatt puts it. ‘As the developing world industrialises, demand for water will significantly increase: one of the forecasts the OECD has given for emerging markets is about three and a half times to four times the amount of water by 2050,’ she says.

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  • China, industry, investment