Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg

Chinese Suitors Said to Vie for $1.5 Billion Stake in K-Electric

Updated on
  • Golden Concord, Shanghai Electric Power in final bidding round
  • Engie, investment fund also seek control of Pakistani utility

Chinese clean-energy group Golden Concord Holdings Ltd. is competing with Shanghai Electric Power Co. for control of K-Electric Ltd., the $2.3 billion Pakistani utility, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The two Chinese companies are among bidders asked to submit binding offers by the end of this month for Abraaj Group’s 66 percent holding in K-Electric, according to the people. French utility Engie SA and at least one investment fund are also in the final round, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The stake was valued at about $1.5 billion based on the company’s stock price Thursday in Karachi, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Any transaction would add to the $129.1 billion of utility deals announced globally this year, up from $60 billion during the same period in 2015, the data show. K-Electric, formerly known as Karachi Electric Supply Co., serves more than 2.2 million customers in and around the Pakistani city and employs about 11,000 people, according to its website

A K-Electric spokeswoman said the company hasn’t been notified of any transaction or acquisition. Representatives for Abraaj Group and Engie declined to comment, while Golden Concord and Shanghai Electric Power didn’t answer phone calls seeking comment outside regular business hours in China.

Pakistan’s government owns another 24 percent stake in K-Electric, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Shares of K-Electric rose as much as 3.1 percent in Karachi trading Friday, the biggest gain in about a week. The stock has risen 19 percent this year, trailing the 21 percent increase in the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange KSE100 Index.

Abraaj Group, an emerging-markets investment firm with about $9.5 billion of assets under management, bought the controlling stake in K-Electric in 2009, according to its website.

Golden Concord is the parent of Hong Kong-traded GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., the world’s biggest polysilicon and solar wafer maker, and clean-power producer GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd. Shanghai Electric Power, which has a market value of $3.6 billion, is a listed unit of China’s State Power Investment Corp.

— With assistance by Dinesh Nair, Feifei Shen, and Vinicy Chan

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