HSBC 1999 Meeting in Hilton Head, SC

The Hilton Hotel in Hilton Head, SC provided the lush setting for this year's HSBC Washington Analysis financial conference of the water industry. Although the conference loacation was on the beach and among the nation's best golf courses participants rarely saw the beach and waited until the final day for golf. They were too deeply engaged in exchanging ideas and projections for the future of the American private water industry to miss the presentations or intuitive opinions expressed  over lunch, at the lively cocktail lounge/dance floor or dinners. Top industry representatives enjoyed time with competitors, who for a few days, were colleagues.

This year, again, the events were hosted by industry guru, Debra Coy and managed by Christine Uspenski, both top industry analysts.

Debra Coy with Jim Barr

Host Debra Coy, HSBC Washington Analysis
with Jim Barr CEO of American Water Works

microfiltration experts compare technologies

Brian Sullivan, founder and CEO of Recovery Engineering (Pur Filters) describes his glass filtration technology to a thoughtful Raphael Simon of Zenon Environmental (ZeeWeed membrane filtration) while Stephanie Guglielmo of Kennedy Capital listens to Richard Schmidt of Aquarion Water of Connecticut.

Click for the Pur Filter Story

While corporate leaders presented their company's financial and marketing projections which generally showed a glowing picture of continued industry growth and market penetration in private they questioned the slender profit margins and ondered the impact of increased consolidation. 

Days before the March 1999 HSBC conference Vivendi announced its plans for the friendly acquisition of US Filter for a purchase price of $31.50/share, no premium over current traded values. Hours later, Enron's Asurix division announced its IPO and the purchase of Philip Utilities of Canada. There is little doubt that consolidations will continue if not increase as this young industry struggles toward maturity.

 

Don Correll, CEO of United Water

Taking a short break from the more formal presentations,Don Correll, CEO of United Water Resources is flanked by smiling Jean Michel Brault of United Water Services and John Turner of United Water Resources (left) and Richard Schmidt of Aquarion (right).

Quinn and Reinhardt

Rennie Quinn, President of Severn Trent Environmental Services (left) listens to the wise and often acerbic Bill Reinhardt, Publisher of Public Works Financing gives his strong opinion of industry issues while Walt Winrow, Sr. Vice President of Poseidon Resources (next to Rennie) enjoys the expert commentary.

 

Best Looking Guys at the Conference

Testing the Water?

Bill Reinhardt, Larry Chertoff, Roger Feldman, Walt Winrow and Rennie Quinn seem to be getting more than liquid refreshments from this year's "not -to-be-missed" event.