Beijing Enterprises Water May List Overseas Assets for Expansion

Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd., a Chinese developer of water treatment systems, may seek a listing for its overseas assets as it expands internationally.

“A backdoor listing of the business abroad is also possible,” Chairman Zhang Honghai said today in an interview in Beijing, referring to getting a listing by purchasing a company that’s already publicly traded abroad. He didn’t disclose when or how much Beijing Enterprises plans to raise.

The plans will help fund expansion outside China for the Hong Kong-listed company, which currently has just 5 percent of its assets overseas. Beijing Enterprises bought Veolia Environment SA’s water and wastewater business in Portugal for 95 million euros ($129 million) in March.

Talks are underway with potential partners and acquisition targets mainly in Asia, he said. The company continues to see opportunities in Europe where a takeover would be more profitable than elsewhere after the financial crisis, he added.

Beijing Enterprises will also cooperate with Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund that holds a 5 percent stake in the company, to develop business in Southeast Asia, Zhang said at a news conference earlier in the day.

Separately, the Asian Development Bank agreed to a $240 million long-term loan for the company’s wastewater treatment plants to meet reuse water standards for industry cooling and urban environment purposes, Beijing Enterprises said today in a statement.

“The interest rate on the loan is just a bit above 2 percent,” almost a third the rate at commercial banks, Zhang said in the interview.

The bank will also offer $500,000 for technical assistance to enhance energy efficiency at the company’s wastewater treatment plants, according to the statement.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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