Fluence Corp (ASX:FLC) has revealed that Ivory Coast is the African country it’s been talking to for 18 months about a €165 million ($261m) water treatment plant for its largest city, Abidjan.

It first began talking up a big contract to provide drinking water for “an African nation” in September 2017, one that would help the company on its way to profitability.

The project, slated to start by the September quarter this year, is expected to bring in $US20m ($27.8m) this year in revenue and $80m in 2020. It is subject to financing, which Fluence is organising through the Ivory Coast government and a loan from Israel Discount Bank.

This project was supposed to start last year. Fluence forecast a third of the expected “$US100m+” revenue to come in 2018 and the remainder in 2019.

Fluence emerged from a tie-up in mid-2017 between ASX-listed Emefcy — the company that had the tech — and RWL Water, a New York business founded by Estee Lauder heir Ron Lauder, that had the global connections.

But the company’s shares have under-performed as investors continually looked through the flurry of deal announcements to what they believed the company could have been had the merger not happened.

Investors have told Stockhead in the past that while the merger added to the company’s global network, it hadn’t fulfilled promises made as far back as 2015 when Emefcy listed.

Others said it wasn’t getting in front of the right investors to push the share price up.

Fluence opened today near a three-year low, falling to that point after the company in January said it was expecting full year revenue to come in at $US105.6 million, the lower end of the $US105m-$115m anticipated a year earlier.

The long-awaited Ivory Coast news has put a rocket under that price, however, as the stock shot up 14 per cent to 37.7c.

Fluence markets its water equipment ‘packages’ as a cheaper and faster alternative to building a large desalination or water treatment plant.

The company is yet to hit profitability, but CEO Henry Charrabé hopes they’ll “be sustainably EBITDA profitable by the fourth quarter of 2019″.

EBITDA is earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation, rather than statutory or net profitability.

Fluence has secured more than two dozen contracts since the merger, and has raised just over $47m from investors to pay for them.

Fluence shares over the last five years.