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Australian government approves $5.5b takeover

by Andrea Waitrovich

A group led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, the power plant and toll road operator controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, won approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board for its A$7.4 billion ($5.6 billion) takeover bid of Duet Group.

Duet will provide Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings access to an energy network covering an area three times the size of Hong Kong.

It will expand the Chinese investor’s interests in Australia. The firm already owns stakes in assets including SA Power Networks, Powercor Australia, Australian Gas Networks and CitiPower I Pty.

Duet’s assets include the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline in Western Australia, a stake in electricity distributor United Energy, gas distribution business Multinet Gas, pipelines business DBP Development Group and Energy Developments Ltd., according to Duet’s website.

The consortium consists of Cheung Kong Property Holdings, Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Power Assets Holdings.

There had been concerns the government could reject the deal after it last year blocked Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings from buying a state-owned power grid, Ausgrid, on the grounds of “national security.”

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