Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing to buy £645m UK gas assets

City A.M. Reporter
A group of companies controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has agreed to buy UK gas company Wales and West Utilities for £645m, the latest acquisition by the tycoon that will boost his gas portfolio in Britain.

Octogenarian Li has been expanding his business empire by buying into regulated infrastructure and utilities assets in developed countries, especially Britain -- which is open to foreign ownership of its infrastructure assets.

Blue-chip property developer Cheung Kong Holdings said it had formed a joint venture with Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, Power Assets Holdings and the Li Ka Shing Foundation to buy the company, which is involved in the management of gas transportation assets and gas distribution in Wales and the southwest of England.

"For Cheung Kong Holdings, the acquisition is considered to be a quality investment which would provide long-term steady recurring income contribution to the CKH Group and reflects CKH's strategy to embrace new growth opportunities through diversification and globalisation," the company said in a statement.

Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Power Assets are controlled by Li's conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa.