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Wed 8 Apr 2015 10:50 AM

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Abu Dhabi, Kuwait bid for Australian electricity grid assets – report

Gulf sovereign wealth funds are reportedly bidding against China & others for electricity assets in NSW

Abu Dhabi, Kuwait bid for Australian electricity grid assets – report

Sovereign wealth funds from Abu Dhabi and Kuwait are reportedly part of a group bidding for the electricity assets of Australia’s most populous state.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and an arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority, along with Hastings Funds Management, Spark Infrastructure Group and Canada's Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, are seeking to buy the New South Wales (NSW) assets, according to Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

They are reportedly bidding against other high net worth investment funds including State Grid of China, the nation's biggest electricity distributor, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Macquarie Group's Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets arm.

The NSW government, based in the state capital Sydney, plans to raise about $20bn leasing almost half of its electricity network to fund new railways, roads, schools and hospitals. It already has sold $9bn worth of assets in the past two years.

Deutsche Bank and UBS Group AG have been appointed as advisers to sell the lease to operate TransGrid, which manages one of Australia's largest electricity transmission networks.

It also plans to sell similar leases to 50.4 per cent of two of the state's other power transmission and distribution companies, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Hastings declined to comment, while representatives for the Kuwait Investment Authority, Caisse de Depot, IFM and Macquarie didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, Bloomberg said.

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