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Chinese Desalination Projects Receive Helping Hand from IFC and Aqualyng

International Finance Corp., a lending arm of the World Bank, is helping fight a water shortage problem in China with its first investment in the country’s desalination sector. The IFC has invested $12 million in Aqualyng Holding AS and the Norwegian company will use the funds to build desalination plants in areas of China experiencing water scarcity.

“Our investment in Aqualyng underscores our commitment to help China address water shortages, which seriously affects more than 100 cities in the country and millions of people,” IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific Sergio Pimenta said in a statement from Beijing.

Aqualyng is aiming to build desalination plants with a combined of capacity of 100,000 cubic meters per day. The IFC financing is part of a $30 million fund-raising effort by Aqualyng, which has also attracted investments from Pareto Staur Energy and the Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund.
“With IFC as an investor, we will be better placed to attract additional private capital in the future,” said Bernt Østhus, Executive Chairman of Aqualyng. “IFC is known for quality investments and has a reputation for carefully selecting the companies they work with. IFC’s global network will also help us to expand faster in emerging markets.” ??

This is IFC’s first investment in China’s emerging seawater desalination industry, with Pimenta stating that “by partnering with a leading desalination company in Asia, we are also demonstrating that private sector players can be instrumental in helping solve such developmental challenges.” ??

Aqualyng and its joint venture partner Beijing Enterprises Water Group recently commissioned the first stage of the Caofeidian desalination plant in Hebei province, which can process 50,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily.

The plant is one of the first large-scale, commercial seawater reverse osmosis plants in China and is considered a model desalination project in the country. Aqualyng’s equity investment in this project received a guarantee from the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment and Guarantee Agency.

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