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Hong Kong’s Cheng family is buying Alinta Energy, an Australian energy company, in a deal worth about A$4bn ($3.1bn), the latest in series of foreign transactions in the infrastructure and utility sectors Down Under.The Cheng family made the bid through Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, its private investment vehicle. The family’s more public investments include control of New World Development, the property, retail and hotels group, and Chow Tai Fook the jeweller on which the family’s fortunes are based.

CTFE already has significant investments in real estate and integrated resorts in Australia but the purchase of Alinta marks the group’s first foray into the energy sector.

Alinta said in a statement CTFE had indicated that the acquisition is highly strategic and it would invest to grow the business.

“They are committed to ensuring the energy needs of Alinta’s customers continue to be met and intend to grow the business by pursuing value accretive investment opportunities in the Australian energy markets as they arise,” it said.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval and CTFE has already submitted an application to Australia’s foreign investment review board.

Private equity group TPG Capital is the largest shareholder in Alinta, owning almost 30 per cent of the company’s shares.

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