Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd., controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, is interested in bidding for the Finnish electricity grid owned by Fortum Oyj, a person familiar with the matter said.
Cheung Kong Infrastructure is working with UBS AG on a possible offer, the person said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are confidential. Fortum said in January that it was considering selling its electricity distribution businesses in the Nordic region to focus on power generation.
Li has used his companies including Cheung Kong Infrastructure to pursue acquisitions of water utilities and waste management firms in Europe, seeking government-regulated returns, as Hong Kong’s economic growth cools. The 85-year-old tycoon is also spinning off the city’s second-largest power supplier in a deal that may bring in as much as $5 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said in September.
Fortum said it planned to complete the review of the electricity units in Finland, Sweden and Norway by the end of the year. Revenue from the combined assets totaled 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in the 12 months through September 2012, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 466 million euros, according to a statement in January.
Wendy Tong Barnes, a spokeswoman for Cheung Kong Infrastructure, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today. The Wall Street Journal, which reported on the company’s interest earlier today, said the Finnish assets could be worth more than $2 billion.