WORLD WATER DAY: Growing global attention to water issues creating major business opportunities



    World Water Day highlights growing public and political "will to spend"
    on water infrastructure

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - Growing attention to global water challenges
has created a significant opportunity for water-focused businesses according
to Toronto-based Criterion Investments Limited ("Criterion").
    Today is World Water Day - a United Nations General Assembly initiative
to draw attention to a critical lack of safe drinking water worldwide. This
year's World Water Day is themed "Coping with Water Scarcity" and activities
including conferences, ceremonies, walks and films are planned across Canada
and worldwide.
    "The delivery of safe water is a global concern and people are beginning
to acknowledge the severity of the problem," said Ian McPherson, President of
Criterion Investments. "Much of the current infrastructure is ancient, leaky
and needs replacing, and then there's the fact that 1.1 billion people don't
have any access to safe drinking water. It's a problem that global and local
leaders are facing up to and it is creating a will to spend."
    It is estimated that capital expenditure of $1 trillion is required over
the next five years just to meet basic requirements for the delivery of water
to developed nations and emerging markets worldwide.
    Criterion last month launched Canada's first actively-managed water fund,
a mutual fund that enables Canadian investors to tap into businesses at the
centre of the growing global water industry.
    "Criterion Water Infrastructure Fund will invest in businesses that are
focused on the delivery of safe water worldwide. That includes companies that
make pipes and valves, as well as those involved in water quality management,
desalination and new water technologies," explains Mr. McPherson. "These are
areas that municipalities need to spend on, but they will not be manufacturing
the pipes, valves and filtration systems themselves."
    The Fund's investing is managed by Pictet Asset Management SA ("Pictet"),
a leading Swiss investment firm with a history that dates back 200 years.
Pictet's global water fund, launched in 2000, is now the world's largest
water-focused fund with over $4 billion in assets.
    "Whenever capital expenditure of that magnitude is required,
well-positioned businesses will do well," said Dr. Philippe Rohner, Senior
Fund Manager at Pictet. "Urbanization and industrialization in markets like
China and India will continue to drive massive spending. There is also a need
for innovative alternatives for the distribution of water services. In Europe
alone, new water and wastewater directives imply a funding requirement of
EUR330 billion."

    About Criterion
    Criterion is committed to creating insightful solutions for everyday
Canadian investors, leveraging value-added investment features that are
typically only available to large institutions and high-net worth individuals.
Criterion combines unique investment structures with best-in-class asset
managers or strategies to offer investors opportunities for access to
exclusive asset classes, enhanced yield, tax efficiency and risk reduction.
Criterion is an affiliate of VenGrowth Asset Management Inc., one of Canada's
premier managers of private equity and alternative investments with a proven
track record of success since 1982. For more information, please visit
www.criterioninvestments.com

    About Pictet Asset Management
    Pictet Asset Management ("PAM") is the institutional investment arm of
Pictet & Cie, one of Europe's leading and longest established private banks,
founded in 1805. PAM is one of the largest independent asset managers in
Europe with US$99 billion in assets under management. With 11 centres around
the world, PAM enjoys global reach, extending from London, Geneva, Frankfurt,
Paris, Madrid, Milan and Zurich to Tokyo, Hong-Kong, Singapore and Montreal.
PAM manages the world's largest water-focused fund. For more information,
please visit www.pictetfunds.com.

    Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may
be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before
investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and
past performance may not be repeated.





For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Angus Fisher, Manager, Media &
Communications, VenGrowth Asset Management Inc., (416) 628-9255,
afisher@vengrowth.com

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CRITERION INVESTMENTS LIMITED

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