Today, we are celebrating a long and impressive history.

90 years of operational excellence, innovation and local commitment to regions and their communities to revitalize our world by revaluing water for the benefit of future generations.

1962 Pierre Crussard
The 1930s - The birth of a Group committed to universal access to clean drinking water

This story begins in 1933 with the vision of one man – Pierre Crussard – and his determination to bring the benefits of progress to those previously excluded from them. At this time, only 23% of France’s rural communities were connected to a mains drinking water supply.

On the eve of the Second World War, Saur was managing drinking water supplies for 27 towns.

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The 1940s - Post-war reconstruction and development

Despite the challenges of the post-war world, Saur continued to conduct preliminary studies for projects such the Angle-Guignard and Mervent dams and drinking water production plants to supply the department of Vendée.

From 1948 onwards, Saur progressively assumed management of water services for municipalities that previously managed them internally. Local authorities entrusted their drinking water supply service to Saur because they saw it as a trustworthy business with employees committed to working closely with communities to supply high-quality water in volumes sufficient to meet their needs.

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The 1950s - Rural expansion and the beginnings of an international presence

25 years on from its creation, Saur was serving some 700 communities and building an operating presence in more departments of France: Yonne, Calvados, Aisne, Côtes-du-Nord and Mayenne. The volume of work reached such a level that in 1959 the board of directors decided to form a new company called Stereau to act as the Group’s engineering and infrastructure services subsidiary.

In 1949, Saur began its international expansion with a diverse range of projects in Africa: engineering consultancy in Gabon, a feasibility study for outsourcing water supply services in Senegal (Dakar), and the outsourced water supply contracts for Abidjan and Bingerville in Côte d'Ivoire.

Annonay Fourgon Citroën 2
The 1960s - Targeting mid-size cities in France, as well as the Iberian Peninsula market

On November 12th, 1968, the urban authority for the Gard region took the decision to outsource its water supply system for the city of Nîmes to Saur: the company's first management contract for a city of this size.

In the same year, Saur Spain was awarded the contract to operate the important ‘Aguas de Maresme’ water supply service for Barcelona and its surrounding region. The contract marked the beginning of a long-term two-way relationship with Spain.

Honfleur 1976
The 1970s – Saur consolidates its position in the wastewater treatment market

At the end of the 1960s, France had only 1,500 wastewater treatment plants.

It was this situation that alerted the country in the early 1970s to the necessity for more effective treatment of effluents. River pollution, the use of new products and the reconstruction boom were all impacting aquatic ecosystems and the wider environment.

This was the background against which Saur established a presence in this emerging market, enabling the company to provide local authorities with comprehensive management of their water services, from drinking water production and supply through to wastewater treatment.

Centre Pierre Crussard 2
The 1980s - On track for innovation and Research & Development

The opening of its central laboratory gave Saur the capability to analyze thousands of water samples every year, and positioned the company at the cutting edge of innovation in water chemistry.

International expansion also meant the wider Europe: Saur set up Aquatech in North America in 1981, followed by Saur UK in 1986. During this decade, it also became the leading private operator in Quebec, with a private consumer market share of more than 30%.

Mariage de Saur Cise
The 1990s – New markets, new contracts

In 1997, Saur took a decisive step forward in the public service outsourcing market with its acquisition of Saint Gobain subsidiary Cise, then the fourth-largest infrastructure services operator in France. To support its expanding international presence, it created a dedicated water management subsidiary called Saur International.

The new company went from strength to strength, winning new contracts in Europe, Asia and Africa for outsourced drinking water management services, and projects to build new water treatment facilities.

ARMENIE Pumping Station In Masis
The 2000s – A new springboard for Saur

In 2004, the Bouygues Group sold Saur (excluding its African subsidiaries) to the private equity investor PAI Partners.

Although the annual renewal rate for Group contracts already averaged between 85% and 90%, it was also actively seeking out new customers – even in Armenia and Saudi Arabia – attracted to Saur by its high-quality service, commitment to investment in technology, ability to create direct connections between its businesses and the regions and environmental heritage in which it was already operating.

Panorama 6
The 2010s - Performance driven by innovation

In this decade, assignments and expertise were evolving fast, and the majority of them related to incorporating new technologies in areas as diverse as mobility, metrology, geo-positioning and energy management.

Saur became the first player in the market to create the Operations Control Centers (OCCs) that act as powerful hubs for information feedback, analysis and communication, and are staffed by specialists, technicians and experts to provide day-to-day assurance that water production and distribution system performance and safety remain on target.

Between 2007 and 2012, the Saur corporate foundation (Saur Solidarités) supported no fewer than 115 humanitarian, employability and environmental projects.

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The 2020s - A new era in which the Saur Group sets out to revitalize our world by advocating for a global revaluation of water

On completion of a transformational change program initiated in 2020, and with the support of its new shareholder EQT, the Group is now changing its public face, refreshing its governance structure to redress gender balance, and adopting a proactive corporate purpose of advocacy and a new brand image under the leadership of its new CEO Patrick Blethon.

The Group has launched a new strategic roadmap built around three pillars: further development of its operational excellence and the acquisition of new contracts for its Water France subsidiary; further expansion of its international presence (including the acquisition of Aquapor in 2021 and Aqua-Chem in 2022); and the development of its industrial water technologies portfolio.

90 years of operational excellence
Logo 90 SAUR RVB
New acquisitions to build Saur global industrial water solutions platform
New acquisitions to scale up our municipal water service abroad