French utilities group Veolia Environnement said it signed a contract to invest euro 100 million (US$124 million) to manage water supply and treatment in Shenzhen.
The transaction comes with a 50-year contract and will bring in an estimated euro 8.5 billion (US$10.55 billion), the company said.
Under the deal, Veolia Water and its investment partner, Beijing Capital Group, will take a 45% stake in the publicly owned Shenzhen Water Group, with the Shenzhen municipal government retaining the remaining 55%.
The transaction concluded the Shenzhen municipal government's plan, first unveiled in August 2002, to auction stakes of 25% to 70% in five large state-owned companies to foreign investors.
The other companies were Shenzhen Energy Group, Shenzhen Gas Group, Shenzhen Public Transportation and Shenzhen Food General.
By February 2003, only one stake had been sold – Hong Kong-listed Huaneng Power International bought 25% in Shenzhen Energy for RMB 2.4 billion.
Since then Hong Kong and China Gas has bought a 30% stake in Shenzhen Gas, while Kowloon Motor Bus acquired 35% of Shenzhen Public Transportation and Ng Fung Hong, Hong Kong's largest importer of live and frozen food from the mainland, took a 70% stake in Shenzhen Food General.