Australian defense and intelligence officials intend to advise the national and New South Wales state governments to reject a Chinese bid to lease a power grid in the state, the Australian Financial Review reported Saturday, without saying where it got the information.
Binding bids for New South Wales state-owned TransGrid are due Nov. 23 and State Grid Corp. of China is in a consortium with Macquarie Group Ltd. seeking a lease for the power transmission company, people with knowledge of the matter have said previously.
Chinese investment in Australia is in focus after the government Thursday blocked the sale of the nation’s largest private landowner to an overseas buyer, saying the location of one of the company’s 10 cattle ranches in a weapons testing area could compromise national security. S. Kidman & Co.’s properties, which were listed for sale in April, attracted bids from China’s Shanghai Pengxin Group and Hong Kong-based investment firm Genius Link Asset Management, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.
The Australian government has also responded to criticism of its sale of Port of Darwin to Chinese investors after the Obama administration raised concerns. The government is consulting with states and territories on future asset sales, after the Northern Territory last month approved leasing the Darwin port to China’s privately owned Landbridge Group, Treasurer Scott Morrison said Thursday.
Australia’s most populous state plans to raise about A$20 billion ($14.5 billion) leasing almost half of its electricity network to fund new railways, roads, schools and hospitals.