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Mining group Antofagasta Plc is looking to sell off water concessionaire Aguas Antofagasta which serves northern Chile's region II, newspaper La Tercera quoted sources close to the operation as saying.
The process is in the initial stages and may be wrapped up in April or May next year, with Banco Santander organizing the sale, according to the sources. The company could be valued at US$400mn, CorpResearch's Sergio Zapata was quoted as saying. Antofagasta Plc paid US$186mn for the 30-year concession at end-2003.
Groups that could reportedly be interested include Spain's Agbar, which controls Chile's largest water concessionaire Aguas Andinas; the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which owns concessionaires Essbio and Esval; and Japan's Marubeni, which controls Aguas del Altiplano, Aguas Araucanía, Aguas Magallanes and Aguas Décima.
Midyear it was reported that Aguas Antofagasta plans to invest 80bn pesos (US$145mn) in 2014-19 to upgrade its network and cope with growing water demand.
Aguas Antofagasta serves 161,000 clients in the northern cities of Antofagasta, Calama, Mejillones, Taltal and Tocopilla, where some of the world's largest copper mines are located and water demand exceeds supply.
London-based Antofagasta Plc is controlled by Chile's wealthiest family, the Luksic. More than 90% of the company's income is from mining related activity.