Ottawa’s Clearford deepens reach into India with new clean-tech contracts

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Traffic in Gujarat State, India. (Stock image for illustrative purposes only)

Clearford Water Systems says it’s closed two new deals in India that will see the Ottawa company’s technology installed in two large manufacturing facilities.

The local firm, which develops and sells a decentralized sewage system that’s less expensive than traditional installations, has been working to make deeper inroads in the south Asian country for several years as Indian policymakers place a higher priority on sanitation and clean water supplies.

It’s been particularly focused on the western state of Gujarat – the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – where it commissioned its first system in India in mid-2016.

Since then, Clearford has repeatedly told investors that more contracts in that country were coming. Last week, the Ottawa company made good on that forecast.

Clearford said it will provide on-site wastewater solutions involving the collection and treatment of sewage from toilets and washroom facilities at a McCain food processing plant in the Mehsana District as well as a manufacturing plant in Navsari operated by Hilti, which makes products for the diamond-service contractor markets.

The McCain job is worth $145,000, while the Hilti installation is valued at $40,000.

Once the systems are operational, the treated effluent will be reused for on-site irrigation of landscaping around the facilities.

“These projects are another step in our strategy to offer effective solutions to a broader client base in the Indian market,” said Clearford president and CEO Kevin Loiselle in a statement.

The Ottawa company also said it’s made progress towards securing more business in India.

Clearford said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Tata Projects – the infrastructure arm of the massive Indian conglomerate – in September and recently started discussions to identify potential communities for Clearford’s technology.

Additionally, Clearford said it’s identified two potential installation sites with the Essel Group, a conglomerate with a business presence in precious metals, entertainment, packaging and technology, among others.

Separately, Clearford said it’s also finalizing negotiations with the Nalanda Foundation, a corporate social responsibility initiative led by India’s Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. for wastewater servicing of a village in Jharkhand State. That community is three times larger than the one in Gujarat State where Clearford first installed its technology.

“The Indian market is showing confidence in the Clearford sanitation solution,” Mr. Loiselle said.

Globally, Clearford’s sales have slipped in recent quarters. The company is betting on a turnaround plan that includes ending its reliance on subcontractors by acquiring companies capable of bringing its wastewater treatment operations and services in-house.

As part of this strategy, Clearford acquired Koester Canada late last month in a transaction valued at $7.8 million.