Asia's richest man Li pays $1.3 B for Dutch waste and energy company AVR

  • Updated: June 17, 2013 - 3:10 AM

HONG KONG — Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is buying a Dutch waste and renewable energy company for 943.7 million euros ($1.3 billion), his companies said Monday, as the infrastructure and utilities businesses of Asia's richest man expand further internationally.

Four companies controlled by Li including Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. said they were teaming up to buy AVR-Afvalverwerking BV.

The group said it was buying AVR because it represents a "compelling long-term investment opportunity for the consortium."

The group also includes Li's property business, Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd., his utility company, Power Assets Holdings Ltd., and his charitable foundation.

The deal, which needs approval from regulators including the European Commission's competition authority, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.

Li's companies are buying AVR from Van Gansewinkel Groep, a Dutch company owned by private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

It's the second time this year that Li has bought a waste company. In January, Cheung Kong Infrastructure paid $412 million for New Zealand's second biggest garbage disposal company, Envirowaste.

AVR is the biggest waste processor in the Netherlands, with about 23 percent of the market. The company's plants in Rotterdam and Duiven, near the German border, have the capacity to incinerate up to 1.7 million metric tons of waste to produce electricity, steam and district heating.

"Cheung Kong Infrastructure is making good inroads in the area of waste management," said Kam Hing-lam, Cheung Kong Infrastructure's group managing director. "With waste treatment being an imminent issue in most places around the world, we see good growth potential in this business," Kam said.

AVR, which has 430 employees, earned 42.3 million euros in profit after tax and other items last year, more than double the $20.7 million euros it earned in 2011.

Li is worth $31 bilion, making him the world's eighth richest person, according to Forbes.

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