The group is targetting a majority stake in the key national infrastructure. It’s thought the consortium includes Fosun and the state behemoth China Gas.
“Regardless of their identity, all bidders will have to go through the same rigorous approval process,” National Grid said in a statement.
The National Grid auction will carve out its gas operations – that supply the Midlands, northwest and east England, and north London – into a standalone business.
Bids – for a minimum of 51 per cent of the new company – are due in later this month and bidders will be offered operational control of the business. National Grid will remain a minority investor.
Two other groups are understood to be interested in bidding: one led by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the other by the Australian bank Macquarie.
Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled a clampdown on foreign ownership of UK infrastructure.