In a continuation of the aggressive inroads he has made into Europe’s infrastructure and telecom sectors in the past three years, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing has extended his reach northward to Finland following the takeover of Holland’s largest waste-converted energy firm in June.
According to the Hong Kong-based website ET Net, Cheung Kong Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Li’s Cheung Kong Holdings, reportedly plans to bid for a power plant owned by Forum in Finland with an estimated market value of US$2 billion.
The acquisition is in sharp contrast to Li’s move away from interests in China, having sold 917 million yuan worth of shares in Changyuan Group, listed on China’s A-share market, so far this year.
Finland has been increasing construction of power-generating facilities in recent years, enabling the country to break free from its reliance on Russia in March this year to avoid the impact of rising power rates. Finland had been the largest export market for Russian electricity until 2010, when it initiated a number of major power-generation projects. Jukka Ruusunen, head of the national power company Fingrid, claimed Finland may eventually begin to export electricity to Russia from 2014-2015.
The Finnish power plant is the latest addition to the overseas acquisitions by Li Ka-shing and his sons this year. In January, Cheung Kong Infrastructure announced plans to buy out Barra Topco, one of the two waste collection and processing firms in New Zealand. In June, Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings jointly announced a plan to acquire AVR-Afvalverwerking, a renewable energy firm in Holland focusing on waste processing and incineration, at an estimated cost of HK$9.8 billion.
“Judging from its investment strategy and direction in recent years, Cheung Kong Infrastructure has apparently switched its focus to Europe and Australia, breaking the confinement of Greater China or Asia,” remarked Wen Tianna, an investment banker in Hong Kong.
According to its midyear report, Cheung Kong Infrastructure has invested mainly in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand this year, notably in the fields of energy, transportation, waster processing and waste management.
Source: Want China Times