China Water Environment eyes $500 million IPO in Hong Kong

China Water Environment Group Ltd., backed by the nation’s state-owned investment holding company, is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong that could raise more than $500 million (S$674.8 million), according to people familiar with the matter.

The water treatment company is working with advisers on a listing that could take place as soon as in the second half of this year, said the people, declining to be identified as the information is not public.

China Water Environment Group, founded in 2013, runs underground wastewater treatment plants across 19 cities in the country including Beijing and Shanghai, according to its website. State Development & Investment Corp. bought into China Water Environment Group last year and is now the biggest shareholder with a 43% stake. Citic Private Equity Funds Management Co. is the second-biggest shareholder.

China Water Environment could be joining other Chinese firms in eyeing sizable Hong Kong listings this year, such as bottled water giant Nongfu Spring Co., which is looking to raise at least $1 billion (S$1.3 billion), and lender China Bohai Bank Co. which is planning an IPO that could raise over $2 billion (S$2.7 billion).

More than $40 billion (S$54 billion) was raised in first-time share sales in the financial hub last year, the most in almost a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chinese companies accounted for well over half of that, driven in part by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s mega $13 billion (S$17.5 billion) Hong Kong listing.

Details of China Water Environment Group’s offering could still change as deliberations are at an early stage, the people said. Representatives for China Water Environment and SDIC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.