• Shanghai competing with other companies to acquire utility
  • K-Electric shares rise to the highest since January 2015

Pakistan’s K-Electric Ltd. rose to the highest in more than a year and a half after Shanghai Electric Power Co. said it plans to buy a controlling stake in the power utility valued at $1.6 billion.

China’s state-backed Shanghai Electric Power intends to acquire as much as 18.3 billion shares, representing 66 percent of K-Electric, according to a notice sent by offer manager Arif Habib Ltd. to the Pakistan Stock Exchange. K-Electric shares rose 1.3 percent to 9.21 rupees after the announcement, the highest since January 2015. Arif Habib rose by the 5 percent limit, the most in a month.

The Chinese company said last week it’s doing preliminary preparation work on acquiring a stake in K-Electric, which serves about 2.2 million customers and employs 11,000 people in Karachi, Pakistan’s coastal commercial capital. Shanghai is vying with Chinese clean-energy group Golden Concord Holdings Ltd., French utility Engie SA and at least one investment fund, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Bidders were asked to submit binding offers by the end of this month for Abraaj Group’s 66 percent holding in the Pakistani company, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Pakistan’s government owns another 24 percent stake in K-Electric, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.

Acquiring control of K-Electric would be Shanghai Electric Power’s biggest overseas purchase, surpassing its 2014 deal to buy a $399 million stake in Maltese utility Enemalta Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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