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Hong Kong billionaire to buy UK gas company
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) July 25, 2012

A consortium led by Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing agreed Wednesday to acquire a British gas distribution company for 645 million ($1 billion), the companies said.

Consortium leader Cheung Kong Holdings said it plans to acquire MGN Gas Networks, which owns gas distributer Wales & West Utilities, from investors including Macquarie Global Infrastructure Funds 2 SARL.

Wales & West Utilities supplies 7.4 million customers in Wales and southwestern England with a total length of main gas pipeline of 35,000 kilometres (21,750 miles).

The company represents a "quality investment which would provide long-term steady recurring income contribution", the consortium said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

It also reflects Cheung Kong Holdings' "strategy to embrace new growth opportunities through diversification and globalisation".

Cheung Kong -- which already owns or operates infrastructure businesses in Hong Kong, mainland China, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- paid nearly $4 billion to buy one of Britain's biggest water utilities, Northumbrian Water, last year.

The flagship company of Li, who is worth $22 billion according to Forbes magazine, Cheung Kong has invested heavily abroad as it seeks to broaden its earnings base outside Hong Kong.


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