Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has added to his collection of British utilities after a consortium led by his flagship Cheung Kong Holdingsagreed to buy Wales and West Utilities, the UK gas company, for £645m.
香港亿万富翁李嘉诚(Li Ka-shing)旗下的英国公用事业企业又多了一家，此前由长江实业(Cheung Kong Holdings)牵头的一个财团同意斥资6.45亿英镑收购英国天然气公司Wales and West Utilities(WWU)。
The deal adds another strand to Mr Li's long-term strategy of buying utilities in the UK, Canada and Australia because they offer stable regulatory environments, common law jurisdictions and predictable returns.
Wales and West Utilities manages gas transportation assets and gas distribution as well as meter services in Wales and the south west of England, the Cheung Kong-led consortium said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. The consortium was advised by Nomura.
The company's distribution network supplies 7.4m customers over an area covering about one-sixth of the UK.
The sellers of the company are a group that included vehicles for Macquarie's European and Global infrastructure funds, a subsidiary of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Boardand Australia's AMP Capital.
该公司的卖家是一个集团，包括麦格理(Macquarie)欧洲及全球基础设施基金所管理的投资工具、加拿大养老金计划投资委员会(Canada Pension Plan Investment Board)的一个子公司，以及澳大利亚的安保资本(AMP Capital)。
For the financial year ended March 31, Wales and West Utilities made a consolidated loss of £63.1m. Cheung Kong, Cheung Kong Infrastructure, and Power Assetswill each hold 30 per cent in the joint venture company, with Mr Li's private charitable foundation holding the remaining 10 per cent stake.
在截至3月31日的财年里，WWU公司录得6310万英镑的综合亏损。长江实业、长江基建(Cheung Kong Infrastructure)以及电能实业(Power Assets)将分别持有合资公司30%股份，李嘉诚基金会将持有其余10%股份。
Mr Li is well known for his preference for shopping for assets in a downturn. Last year, the billionaire's Cheung Kong Infrastructure acquired Northumbrian Water Groupin the UK for £2.41bn. Last week, CKI reported an 18 per cent rise in interim net profit mainly because of its UK portfolio, including Northumbrian.
李嘉诚素以在低迷期间买入资产闻名。去年，这位亿万富翁旗下的长江基建斥资24.1亿英镑收购英国Northumbrian Water Group。上周，长江基建报告中期净利润增长18%，主要得益于其英国资产组合（包括Northumbrian）。
In 2010, CKI paid £5.8bn for EDF's UK power grids as part of a consortium. The company's net profit for the six months to June reached HK$4.7bn (US$606m) and its UK portfolio was responsible for about half of its pre-tax profit.
CKI said last week it was well positioned to make further acquisitions as it had HK$8bn in cash and a 7 per cent net debt-to-equity ratio. CKI's gearing is comfortably lower than the 14.3 per cent it stood at in 2011, according to Bloomberg data. By the same measure, Centrica, the UK energy group, was at 65 per cent last year and the National Gridat 220 per cent.