April 21, 2017 / 12:28 AM / a year ago

DUET says Australian government approves $5.5 billion takeover by CKI consortium

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s DUET Group DUE.AX on Friday said it had been advised by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (1038.HK) (CKI) that the Australian government has approved the Hong Kong company’s $5.5 billion consortium-led takeover offer.

There had been concerns the government could reject the deal after it last year blocked CKI from buying a state-owned power grid, Ausgrid, on the grounds of “national security”. The DUET assets include a smaller power grid as well as a gas distributor and a major gas pipeline.

DUET chairman Doug Halley said shareholders would now be able to vote on the CKI bid at a meeting later on Friday following the approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

DUET shares jumped 9.5 percent at the open to A$3.01 ($2.26), just under the A$3.03 offer price, having traded well below the bid price on concerns the deal could be blocked.

In January, Australia formed a new body to oversee investment in critical infrastructure assets, including power grids. The government in February said it would weigh long-term geopolitical considerations when assessing bids for those assets.

    The CKI-led consortium also includes Cheung Kong Property Holdings (1113.HK) and Power Asset Holdings (0006.HK).

    Reporting by Jane Wardell and Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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