Hong Kong's CKI soars after British water deal

3rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Shares in a firm controlled by Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing hit a record high Wednesday, a day after it announced a $3.9 billion deal to buy one of Britain's biggest water utilities.

Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI) surged to HK$47.45 ($6.09), up 2.82 percent from its Tuesday close. The price is its highest since listing in 1996, a CKI spokeswoman confirmed.

The firm surged to HK$47.25 shortly after it announced the acquisition of Northumbrian Water on Tuesday, the latest move by the Hong Kong tycoon into Britain's utility sector.

The deal, which is subject to the approval of Northumbrian shareholders and expected to close in October, will see CKI pay 465 pence a share for the British firm.

Northumbrian supplies northeastern England and has about 2.6 million customers. It is among 10 regulated water and sewage businesses in England and Wales.

CKI is a division of Cheung Kong Holdings, the flagship company of Li, who is nicknamed "Superman" for his long-running business success.

The firm has invested heavily abroad as it seeks to broaden his earnings base owing to difficulties expanding in Hong Kong.

In November CKI joined Hongkong Electric Holdings in a consortium to buy the British power distribution network of French electricity giant EDF for $9.28 billion, Li's fifth purchase in Britain.

That acquisition was the largest deal by a Hong Kong entity in the country.

The 83-year-old Li was ranked in March as the 11th wealthiest person in the world by the Forbes rich list, with a net worth estimated at $26 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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