Transaction is the largest M&A deal in Pakistan in a decade, amid heightened Chinese interest in investing in Pakistan
Abraaj Group has agreed to sell its majority stake in Pakistan’s K-Electric to Shanghai Electric Power Co (SEP) for $1.77 billion, the emerging market-focused private equity firm said on Sunday. The transaction is the largest M&A deal in Pakistan in a decade, and comes at a time of heightened Chinese interest in investing in the South Asian nation as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Abraaj-controlled KES Power will divest the 66.4 percent stake subject to regulatory approvals being obtained.
SEP was among a number of Chinese bidders, including China Southern Power Grid, which were lining up to acquire the stake, sources told Reuters in August. Chinese companies’ interest comes after China last year announced energy and infrastructure projects worth $46 billion in Pakistan, with a view to opening a trade corridor linking western China with the Arabian Sea. K-Electric is Pakistan’s biggest electricity company, supplying power to 2.5 million customers in and around Karachi, the country’s biggest and wealthiest city.
The private equity firm first acquired its stake in K-Electric in 2009, but said in June 2014 that it had mandated Citigroup to evaluate options for the investment. “SEP will leverage its own strengths as a strategic investor and further realise K-Electric’s potential to provide better services to the people of Pakistan and the government of Pakistan,” SEP Chairman Wang Yundan said in the statement.