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
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
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)