Hong Kong Billionaire Cheng Family’s Australian Energy Unit To Sell Pilbara Assets For $1.1 Billion

Alinta Energy, the Australian power company owned by the private investment firm of Hong Kong’s billionaire Cheng family, has agreed to sell its power assets in Pilbara to gas pipeline operator APA Group for A$1.72 billion ($1.1 billion) including debt.

The transaction, announced on Tuesday, will see Chow Tai Fook Enterprises’ Alinta Energy offload some of the biggest energy-generation assets in Pilbara, the Western Australian region that’s known for its iron ore and lithium mines. The company said the sale will help fund its renewables projects in Australia, including an offshore wind farm and a hydropower storage facilities.

“We had a long-term vision and plan to decarbonise the Pilbara, which is well underway and underpinned by the strong renewables and emissions reductions targets of our customers and partners in the region,” Alinta Energy CEO Jeff Dimery said in a statement.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, APA Group said it plans to raise A$675 million by issuing new shares through an institutional placement to fund the deal. The Australia-listed natural gas pipeline operator added that it will fund the rest of the deal by debt facilities of A$993 million and a A$75 million share purchase plan for eligible shareholders.

“The acquisition of Alinta Energy Pilbara delivers APA a significant new growth platform in the attractive remote-grid energy sector,” APA Group CEO Adam Watson said in the statement. “The business is underpinned by high-quality assets and a stable base of blue-chip customers operating in one of the world’s leading mining geographies.”

The transaction, subject to meeting certain conditions, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter this year, the two companies said.

Alinta Energy owns and operates power stations across Australia and New Zealand. It also retails gas and electricity to more than 1 million customers. The company was acquired by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises in 2017 reportedly for about A$4 billion from investors including buyout firm TPG Capital. The deal at the time marked the Hong Kong private investment behemoth’s first major foray into Australian utilities.

Chow Tai Fook Enterprises put up Alinta Energy’s Pilbara assets for sale earlier this year. The bid has reportedly drawn interests from Fortescue Metals, the iron ore powerhouse founded by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, as well as oil giant BP.


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