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Gates¡¯ charity buys Nanhai Development shares
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-01 10:42:35

    BEIJING, Feb. 1 -- A Charitable body set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife has bought into Shanghai-listed water utility Nanhai Development Co., the latest foreign investor seeking to tap into the potential of China¡¯s water industry.

    Foshan, Guangdong-based Nanhai Development said in its 2004 financial statement the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation purchased 523,501 shares during November and December last year to become its ninth-largest shareholder.

    Nanhai Development did not disclose how much the Gates charity paid for the shares, but domestic media reported the foundation had bought Nanhai Development shares at about eight yuan per share.

    Nanhai Development¡¯s A shares jumped 3.43 percent to close at 7.83 yuan Friday, when the firm announced the Gates foundation purchase. They closed 6.77 percent up at 8.36 yuan Monday after hitting an intra-day high of 8.61 yuan, or 9.96 percent.

    The Nanhai Development purchase is the first time the Gates foundation has invested in China¡¯s A-share markets after it obtained approval from China¡¯s market regulators in September last year to invest US$100 million in the country¡¯s main stock and debt markets under a qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) program.

    Launched in 2002, QFII offers foreign investors the option of riding Chinese corporate growth by buying directly into a wide range of companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Before QFII, foreign investors were only confined to the tiny, hard-currency B-share markets and barred from investing in A shares.

    The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was launched in 2000 and has an endowment of about US$27 billion, supports the global fight against AIDS, malaria and other diseases, among other things.

    The foundation made investments in Hong Kong-listed Ocean Grand Chemical and printing machinery maker Beijing Beiren last year.

    Nanhai Development supplies 834,800 cubic meters of water daily. The firm¡¯s net profit rose 11.65 percent from a year earlier to 71.52 million yuan (US$8.64 million) last year, while revenue from the firm¡¯s water business increased 6.66 percent to 272.39 million yuan.

    (Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)

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