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Gates charity buys Zhejiang Golden Eagle shares
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-28 10:17:45

    BEIJING, Feb. 28 -- Zhejiang Golden Eagle said Friday that a charitable body launched by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife had bought into the Shanghai-listed textile maker, the second time the Gates foundation making investments in the A-share market on the Chinese mainland.

    The Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province-based Golden Eagle said in its 2004 financial statement that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had owned 607,040 shares as of the end of December 31 to become its fourth-largest shareholder.

    The Golden Eagle purchase followed earlier announcement by Shanghai-listed water utility Nanhai Development Co. that the Gates foundation bought 523,501 shares during November and December last year to become its ninth-largest shareholder.

    Golden Eagle did not disclose how much the Gates charity paid for the shares and when it bought the shares.

    But analysts said the foundation must have made the purchase during the fourth quarter last year, given the fact that the Seattle-based foundation 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.

    Golden Eagle, which holds 98 percent of the linen machinery market, 10 percent of the linen yarn market and 15 percent of the spun silk market in China, posted a 14.67 percent rise in net profit of 150.15 million yuan (US$18.13 million), or 0.686 yuan per share, under Chinese accounting standards. The firm plans to pay a dividend of 1 yuan for every 10 shares held, unchanged since 2001.

    The firm was capable of producing 6000 tons of spun silk, linen yarns and silk cashmere, 5.5 million meters of spun silk and linen fabrics every year, making it the largest of its kind in the world, said the firm¡¯s vice chairman Fu Pingao.

    Golden Eagle¡¯s high growth potential has also lured Germany¡¯s Deutsche Bank, one of the first group of foreign institutions granted a QFII quota to trade domestic shares and bonds, into buying 483,100 shares to become the firm¡¯s fifth-largest shareholder, according to the firm¡¯s 2004 financial statement.

    (Source: Shenzhen Daily)

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