E.ON is close to selling its UK power grid arm

CHINESE billionaire Li Ka-shing is close to winning control of E.ON’s UK distribution business after a bid of more than £3.5bn, City A.M. can confirm.

Li’s investment group Cheung Kong Infrastructure is thought to have outbid PPL Corporation, the power producer that bought E.ON’s US business last November for $7.6bn (£4.7bn).

Li’s offer is thought to be more than £3.5bn, and could be announced in the next week if Germany-based E.ON accepts, said a source familiar with the sale.

Li bought French power firm EDF’s UK networks last July for £5.8bn, using CKI and other subsidiaries including the Li Ka-Shing Foundation.

He also owns stakes in Northern Gas Networks, Southern Water and retailer Superdrug.

E.ON put its UK power grid up for sale late last year as part of its plan to dispose of €15bn (£12.8bn) of assets by the end of 2013 in order to reduce debts. The UK business delivers power to more than 5m customers across the Midlands.

A spokesperson for E.ON declined to comment, while Cheung Kong Infrastructure and PPL Corporation could not be reached yesterday.