Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing eyes Nordic electricity unit

Mr Li Ka-shing (above), Asia's richest man, is looking to buy Fortum Oyj's electricity distribution business in Finland, a report said on Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Mr Li Ka-shing (above), Asia's richest man, is looking to buy Fortum Oyj's electricity distribution business in Finland, a report said on Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Mr Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man, is looking to buy Fortum Oyj's electricity distribution business in Finland, a report said on Wednesday.

A Dow Jones Newswire report cited a person familiar with the matter saying that the tycoon's infrastructure unit, Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI), is looking to acquire the operation and has hired bankers.

The deal, which could amount to US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion), would be another acquisition made by Mr Li recently in the European utilities sector, stable returns of which have appealed to Asian buyers, the report said.

In June, a consortium led by Mr Li agreed to buy Dutch waste management company, AVR Afvalverwerking BV (AVR), in a deal worth more than US$1 billion.

The flagship infrastructure unit in 2011 acquired Northumbrian Water Group, one of Britain's biggest water utilities, in a deal worth nearly US$4 billion.

According to the Dow Jones report, Cheung Kong Infrastructure has hired UBS AG as its banker to work on the deal.

CKI, chaired by Li's eldest son and heir to his Cheung Kong conglomerate, Victor, is involved in the development, investment and operation of infrastructure business in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

The 85-year-old Li was ranked in March as the eighth wealthiest person in the world by the Forbes rich list, with a net worth estimated at US$31 billion.