TORONTO Victor Li, co-chairman of Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO) and son of one of Asia's richest men, has agreed to acquire Reliance Home Comfort, a Canadian provider of heating and cooling systems, from U.S. investment firm Alinda Capital Partners for C$2.8 billion ($2.10 billion), Reliance said on Friday.
Li's acquisition comes through his CKP Canada vehicle, a unit of Hong Kong property developer Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd (1113.HK). Li is the heir to Hong Kong billionaire and property tycoon Li Ka-shing.
Barclays (BARC.L) was exclusive adviser to Li. Alinda's advisers were Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO). Torys provided Alinda with legal advice.
Reliance provides heating, cooling and water services to both consumers and businesses. By renting water heaters and other equipment, Reliance Comfort has a recurring revenue stream that gives it the qualities of an infrastructure play.
Several U.S. private equity firms also looked at the asset, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.
Reliance has expanded in recent years. It acquired National Energy Corp, a provider of water heater and HVAC home services, for C$505 million from Just Energy Group Inc (JE.TO) in 2014.
Along with its own SmartAir line, Reliance offers furnaces and air conditioners from United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N) Carrier, as well as the Goodman and Amana brands. Other players in the space include Canadian publicly listed companies Enercare Inc (ECI.TO) and Just Energy. Alinda is one the largest U.S. managers of pension funds for infrastructure investments. It has about $10 billion of assets under management. It has invested across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, according to its website. Alinda's current investments include London's Heathrow Airport and Polish broadcast infrastructure firm Emitel.
($1 = 1.3334 Canadian dollars)
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)