Australian grid sold to local interests

Ausgrid, the largest power network company in the eastern Australian state of New South Wales, has been sold for A$16.2bn.

The state government has sold a majority stake in the grid to two domestic pension funds AustralianSuper and IFM Investors. The sale process has been controversial due to strong Chinese interest. Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure and China’s State Grid Corporation were blocked by the federal government in August on national interest grounds

FT reports that in September, prior to the IFM-AustralianSuper bid, the NSW government has been courting North American investors, such as Canadian pension funds, as parties who may be interested in buying the Ausgrid stake.

The nationality of the consortium means there is no need to seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board, NSW Treasury said.

A statement from NSW treasurer Gladys Berejiklian’s office said: “the successful Unsolicited Proposal by IFM Investors and AustralianSuper was thoroughly assessed by government agencies and financial advisers, with the strictest probity requirements, and found to be unique and delivering value for money.”

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