SYDNEY, April 24 A buyout by Hong Kong's Chow
Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) of gas and electricity retailer
Alinta Energy has been approved by Australia's Foreign
Investment Review Board (FIRB), clearing the way for a deal said
to be worth nearly A$4 billion ($3 billion).
The deal is subject to strict conditions, a spokeswoman for
the FIRB said in an email on Monday.
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison decides whether to
approve foreign takeovers after taking advice from FIRB.
A deal would mark a first foray into the Australian energy
sector for CTFE, a privately held conglomerate best known for
retail arm Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group.
The family-controlled business already invests in Australian
property including a joint venture with casino operator Star
Entertainment Group Ltd.
Alinta, owned by private equity companies including TPG
Capital Management LP, had been preparing for an
initial public offering with a valuation from brokers averaging
A$3.4 billion before Chow Tai Fook Enterprises made its offer
Hong Kong and China combined are the fifth-biggest source of
foreign investment in Australia and Treasurer Morrison has
blocked some recent buyouts citing national security concerns.
Last year he rejected bids from China's State Grid Corp and
Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings for electricity
But earlier this month he cleared CKI's $5.5 billion bid for
DUET Group, which owns a power grid in the state of Victoria.
($1 = 1.3210 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; editing by Jason Neely)