CK Life Sciences and CKI Invest in Australian Water Business
30 March, 2004 -- Hong Kong
CK Life Sciences Int'l., (Holdings) Inc. ("CK Life Sciences") and Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd ("CKI") acquired interests in AquaTower - the exclusive potable water supplier of four regional towns in Victoria.
Both CK Life Sciences and CKI have been involved in water-related business: CK Life Sciences has developed a series of bioremediation product applications, WonderTreat, for treatment of municipal wastewater, contaminated surface water and industrial wastewater; whereas for CKI, apart from its investments in water plants in China since 1998, it also had an indirect stake in AquaTower through its 50% equity in electricity distributor CitiPower Pty.
A Milestone in CK Life Sciences Australian Business
According to Mr Alan Yu, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CK Life Sciences, "At CK Life Sciences, we have dedicated our efforts and research in developing biotech products concerning the environment and human health with an aim to improve quality of life. Water treatment not only involves bioremediation, but relates closely with human health; it complements greatly the company's strategic direction. Participating in AquaTower's business will strengthen our presence in the water business, thereby speeding up penetration in target markets and expansion of operations."
"Australia has always been a key market for CK Life Sciences. The AquaTower investment marks a milestone in CK Life Sciences' development in Australia. We are at present actively seeking more acquisition and business development opportunities in the country, and progress has been satisfactory" continued Mr Yu.
CKI's First Direct Investment in Overseas Water Plant
Mr Eric Kwan, Deputy Managing Director of CKI, stated, " CKI has always taken a keen interest in water treatment business. Although CKI's previous investment in the water treatment plant in Yueyang in China was sold at a premium following the consolidation of the Group's business, we have kept up with our search for investment opportunities in water treatment projects around the globe. The acquisition of AquaTower is one of our strategic moves -- turning a formerly indirect investment through CitiPower to a direct investment of a nearly 50% stake. AquaTower possesses the characteristics of a classic regulated industry, i.e. low risk, high return. Having operated for 20 months and generating an immediate cash return, this is a secured and prime water plant asset."
"The AquaTower investment is a milestone in CKI's business development. It not only signifies the extension of our success in operating water business from China to Australia, it also marks the diversification of our business in Australia from the energy and transportation infrastructure arenas, making our infrastructure portfolio in Australia more comprehensive, and hence, strengthening our business foundation for new development opportunities that lie ahead.
- AquaTower has signed a 25-year water service contract with the Grampians Region Water Authority in Victoria, ending in 2027, to build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) water treatment plants
- Starting from mid-2002, AquaTower had the exclusive rights to provide potable water to four towns in Victoria, serving a population of approximately 50,000 people
- Before the acquisition, AquaTower was 50/50 owned by CitiPower (which is, in turn, jointly owned by CKI and Hongkong Electric) and Abigroup Limited, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, respectively.
- On completion of the acquisition, CK Life Sciences and CKI will hold a 51% and 49% equity in AquaTower respectively.
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