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IDB President Moreno discusses outlook for Latin American water companies at NYSE

Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno joined senior executives from the Sao Paulo State Sanitation Company (SABESP) for the traditional "closing bell" ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, October 25.

The ceremony followed a joint press conference in which Moreno discussed the outlook for water companies in Latin America along with Mauro Arce, SABESP’s chairman, and Rui de Britto Álvarez Affonso, the company’s CFO. The press conference concluded two days of meetings with executives from leading Latin American water and sanitation companies on the potential for raising funds in international capital markets to cover the cost of expansion and infrastructure improvements.

SABESP, by far Latin America’s largest water and sanitation company, has raised capital on the New York Stock Exchange by issuing American Depository Receipts since 2002.

"The Inter-American Development Bank takes particular pride in SABESP," Moreno said at the press conference, "because over the course of 20 years we have lent nearly $900 million to help finance its expansion."

Moreno told reporters that SABESP exemplifies "emergence of a new generation of national water companies that are efficient, innovative and financially solid." He gave examples of several different types of management and investment models that have allowed water companies to produce solid financial returns while improving service for low-income consumers (See link to a transcript of Moreno’s remarks).

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the IDB hosted a daylong session of meeting with executives from more than a dozen prominent water companies from Latin America, with the goal of exploring new avenues of cooperation and investment. On the following day, many of those executives attended meetings at the NYSE hosted by SABESP, in which representatives from investment banks and credit rating agencies explained how water companies might go about raising capital through the exchange.