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Following participation, in his capacity as advisor, in the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai and the Seoul International Advisory Council, Gerard Mestrallet, SUEZ Chairman and C.E.O., traveled to Chongqing, the world's largest municipal area with a population of 30 million, for the startup of the water contract signed by an Ondeo subsidiary (Sino-French holding) last August.
At the invitation of the Mayor of Chongqing, Gerard Mestrallet participated in the "Chongqing Forum for new century international entrepreneurs," before a group of 500 business leaders from the Chongqing region, with Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin one of China's four autonomous cities directly dependant on Beijing.
At the same time, Gerard Mestrallet held a working session devoted to developing Group activities in the region with SUEZ Environment senior managers in Asia.
SUEZ has been present in China for several years through its subsidiary, Sino-French Holdings, in partnership with the Hong Kong New World group (17 joint-ventures to date). At Chongqing, the joint venture is 60%-owned by Sino-French, and 40% by the municipality. It's the first time a foreign company is authorised to take full majority in such a joint venture. The joint venture started operations on November 1 following an opening ceremony in the presence of the Secretary of the Communist Party of Chongqing Huang Zhen Dong, Chongqing's Mayor Wang Hongju, Deputy Mayor in charge for the city development Huang Qi Fan, Yves-Thibault de Silguy, SUEZ Executive Vice President, and the French Ambassador to China, Jean-Pierre Lafon.
The Chongqing contract represents a total investment of EUR 150 million to be spread over the contract's fifty-year life. It is the first comprehensive drinking water distribution concession in China involving water production, operation, and distribution on through to end-users. The concession covers the northern section of the city, including fast-developing industrial zones especially the international airport area.