Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Li Ka-shing’s firm buys British train company

AFP, HONG KONG

Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd (長江實業), the business empire of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠), announced late on Tuesday that it is buying Britain’s Eversholt Rail Group for £2.5 billion (US$3.8 billion).

Eversholt is one of Britain’s three primary rail rolling stock companies, owning about 28 percent of the country’s passenger trains.

British private equity fund 3i Infrastructure confirmed that it and Eversholt’s other investors, including Morgan Stanley, had all sold their stakes to Cheung Kong.

“We are very happy to enter into this new industry,” said Cheung Kong Holdings managing director Victor Li (李澤鉅), the elder son of Li Ka-shing. “The rolling stock leasing business adds a new facet to our transportation business portfolio.”

The deal will see Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (CKI, 長江基建集團), and its parent, Cheung Kong Holdings, acquire 50 percent each in the train company.

Eversholt is CKI’s third acquisition in the past six months, following investments in Canadian off-airport car parking business Park’N Fly in July last year, and the acquisition of Australian gas distribution company Envestra in October.

Cheung Kong said it expected the deal to be finalized in March.

The company said there were strong growth prospects in the British rail industry, with “more people and more goods than ever ... being moved by train in the country.”

Eversholt owns about 3,500 passenger trains, along with more than 80 freight locomotives and nearly 1,000 freight carriages. It was set up in 1994 as part of the privatization of British Rail.

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