FILINVEST Development Corp. (FDC) is venturing into the water business through a partnership with Singapore-based Hitachi Aqua-Tech Engineering Pte. Ltd.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange Thursday, the Gotianun-led conglomerate said it has signed an agreement with Hitachi Aqua-Tech for the formation of a joint venture firm that will engage in the distribution, supply, and sale of potable water to customers in the country.

The partnership will specifically be involved in “the business of owning, constructing, operating, managing, maintaining, or rehabilitating waterworks, sewerage and sanitation systems and services for the distribution, supply, and sale of potable water to domestic, commercial, and industrial users within the Philippines.”

Founded in 1977, Hitachi Aqua-Tech provides water treatment solutions as well as design and engineering works for pools, fountains, water theme parks, irrigation systems, and water features, according to its website.

This comes after Metro Manila suffered a water crisis last summer. The absence of rains during the summer season caused water levels at Angat Dam to fall below critical level, resulting to more than 16-hour interruptions in water services in the metro.

Other groups have also come forward with a solution to increase water sources in Metro Manila in the future. Tycoon Enrique K. Razon, Jr.’s Prime Metroline Infrastructure Holdings, Inc. earlier secured approval to start building the Wawa Bulk Water Supply project that can supply up to 500 million liters per day by 2025.

FDC’s core interests currently include property, banking, power, sugar, and infrastructure. The conglomerate has three subsidiaries in real estate, namely Filinvest Land, Inc., Filinvest Alabang, Inc., and Filinvest Hospitality Corp. The group develops a combination of residential, office, commercial, and hospitality projects across the country.

Under banking, the company has East West Banking Corp., while FDC Utilities, Inc. handles the power business. It also fully owns Pacific Sugar Holdings Corp., which operates three Mindanao-based sugar firms.

FDC’s net income attributable to the parent slipped 2% to P3.35 billion in the second quarter of 2019, as higher costs outweighed the 8% increase in revenues to P20.6 billion.

For the first half, the company’s attributable net income was up 19% to P6.13 billion, following a 15% increase in total revenues and other income to P41.61 billion.

The group has committed to spend P39 billion in capital expenditures this year, mostly to expand its properties in New Clark City.

Shares in FDC went down 1.45% or 20 centavos to close at P13.60 each at the stock exchange on Thursday. — Arra B. Francia