Australia has risked angering Chinese investors and the Government by ruling out the $10 billion sale of NSW distributor Ausgrid to two Chinese groups.
Citing the national interest, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has blocked Chinese Government owned State Grid Corporation and Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure from purchasing the 50.4 percent stake in Ausgrid being offered by the NSW Government on a 99 year lease basis.
Both groups had bid around $10 billion for the stake, and are believed to be the only bidders, meaning NSW will have to begin the auction process over again, disrupting the state’s budget process and potentially the infrastructure program the sale would fund..
Treasurer Morrison said that a review had identified “critical power and communications services” delivered by Ausgrid.
He said the decision was “not country specific” although he did then go onto say that the Government was open to a foreign purchase.