Ronen Wolfman, 43, is Mekorot's boss. It is a State-owned monopoly, that the Treasury is trying to privatize for ages, without success. He is a man of the Treasury and shares their philosophy. His opinion about the wastewater treatment business in Israel: "Unprofitable". Mekorot holds 45% of the market, thanks to the SHAFDAN (30% alone). In the Natanya bid Mekorot lost to Electra (a 300 million shekel contract), so his opinion may be biased like the fox in Aesop’s fable who stopped trying for the grapes and promptly told himself they were sour anyway. However, I do share his opinion and I did more man-days in this business. "It is a crazy market. The companies that went aggressively into this market are losing money, some even are in difficulties."
ALD from Electra and GES from Granit-HaCarmel are losing money, because there are many companies in the market and the competition is for the lowest price. The municipalities are very bad payers. Another problem is that the operation of WWTP is "shabloni", fixed-pattern, standard, with zero space for innovation. The operators are liable to penalties and litigation caused by changing water quality standards. Some participants are construction companies interested in the construction of WWTPs and less in the long-term maintenance. Other companies like GES consider its loss-making Israeli operations as a basis for its international ambitions.