CIC buys 10.5% of National Grid’s gas division
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s policy of reviewing investment coming from China into British infrastructure has witnessed a new development with the announcement that a consortium including China Investment Corporation agreed to acquire a 61 percent stake in National Grid Plc’s gas division.
The consortium, including CIC, Macquarie Bank of Australia and Allianz Capital Partners, will pay 3.6 billion pounds ($4.55 billion) in cash for the stake.
CIC’s stake will be 10.5 percent and the sale is expected to be completed by March next year.
May’s government said it would review future infrastructure deals involving foreign buyers after she approved Chinese investment in an 18-billion-pounds Frenchdesigned nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in southwest England last year.
Thursday’s deal is also subject to approval by the European Commission.
National Grid said it would continue discussions with the winning bidders about them taking a further 14 percent stake in the business.
“It is a well-trodden path in terms of infrastructure investment in the UK,” said John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid.
“There are a large number of these businesses which are owned by US, European or Asian investors. The key is that whoever is successful will have the same obligations as National Grid for security and safety,” he added.
Martin Stanley, speaking on behalf of the winning consortium, known as MIRA, said: “MIRA has a long-standing operational experience in managing utilities and critical infrastructure in the UK, across Europe and around the world, and we are committed to being a long-term investor in and a responsible custodian of National Grid Gas Distribution.”