The owner of a defunct coal-fired power station in South Australia has been bought by a Hong Kong jewellery and property conglomerate in a deal understood to be worth $4 billion.
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises – a private Hong Kong-based holding company owned and controlled by billionaire Dato’ Dr Cheng Yu-tung’s family – has agreed to buy gas and electricity retailer Alinta Energy.
Alinta shut its Northern Power station in South Australia’s north in May, 2016.
“The investment by CTFE highlights the attractiveness of the Australian energy markets and is a strong endorsement of Alinta and its management team,” Alinta said in a statement on Thursday.
“They (CTFE) are committed to ensuring the energy needs of Alinta’s customers continue to be met and intend to grow the business by pursuing value accretive investment opportunities in the Australian energy markets as they arise.”
CTFE, which controls New World Development Company, has investments in more than 50 countries including Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
It has also invested in Spotify, Uber, Snapchat and Airbnb.
The acquisition of Alinta will be CTFE’s first significant investment in Australia’s energy sector.
Alinta’s chief executive, Jeff Dimery will continue in his role, and the senior management team will also remain in place.
Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg in February called on the SA government to push Alinta to reopen its Northern Power plant to prevent another blackout after about 40,000 Adelaide properties lost power at the end of a 42-degree day.
The blackout occurred after the Australian Energy Market Operator ordered “load shedding” when demand spiked and generation dropped.
Last September, the whole of SA was plunged into darkness after a storm brought down major transmission lines in the state’s north.
CTFE has lodged an application with the the Foreign Investment Review Board and in a statement said it “fully respects all necessary processes undertaken by federal and state governments”.
Originally published as Alinta Energy bought by HK conglomerate