(Yicai Global) March 18 -- Companies controlled by the family of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, including CK Infrastructure Holdings, may decide not to accept any offers made to buy its UK Power Networks, the United Kingdom’s largest electricity distributor.
An offer to buy “does not mean we will sell,” Victor Li, Li Ka-shing’s son and chairman of some of the family businesses, said at a press conference yesterday. “As a multinational company, we buy and sell.”
Potential buyers have given notice of interest in UKPN, companies controlled by the Li family said in a joint stock exchange filing on March 4, without naming the parties. The interest had not been fully evaluated at that time, they said.
The same day, the Financial Times reported that investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Macquarie Group had held talks to buy UKPN, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. The proposed joint deal could value it at about GBP15 billion (USD19.7 billion), the report said.
CK Infrastructure, Power Assets Holdings, and the Li Ka Shing Foundation paid GBP5.8 billion for UKPN in November 2010.
“We have to take many decisions, including opportunities to invest in different regions and fields, but the most important thing is to first estimate asset quality and investment returns, keeping as key criteria the profitability in difficult market situations,” Li said yesterday.
“We do not restrict ourselves in investment areas, with possible investment in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, the UK and anywhere else worldwide,” he said. “All successful global enterprises hope to make the whole world their own market.”
Companies controlled by the Li Family, including CK Hutchison, spent more than CNY1 billion (USD157.3 million) buying back their own shares last year, Li said, noting that some of the funds came from asset sales.
CK Hutchison’s profit rose 15 percent to HKD33.5 billion (USD4.3 billion) last year on a 10.3 percent gain in revenue to HKD445.4 billion (USD57 billion), according to its annual report released yesterday.
Shares of CK Hutchison [HKG: 0001] closed 3.8 percent higher today at HKD57.10 (USD7.30) apiece.
Editor: Futura Costaglione