Macquarie to buy stake in gas distributor

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Macquarie to buy stake in gas distributor

The private equity management unit of Australia-based Macquarie Bank will buy a 49-percent stake in Korea’s major gas provider SK E&S Co., as part of its plan to invest in the nation’s utility industries, according to the head of the company.
David Russell, the head of Macquarie Korea Opportunities Management Inc., said yesterday the firm would establish Macquarie Korea Opportunities Fund and buy nearly half of SK E&S’s shares. His comment was made during an interview with Korean reporters.
SK E&S, an affiliate of SK Group, holds a 25-percent stake in the local gas distribution market with its 11 subsidiaries, including SKGas, Daehan City Gas Co., Pohang City Gas and Pusan City Gas.
Mr. Russell, stressing that local investors promised to plunk down 340 billion won ($346 million) for the investment, said the fund manager would further expand its investment pool to more than 1 trillion won, and focus on investing in gas, electricity, water supply and telecommunication sectors.
Local investors who would participate in the investment project include Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, Korea Life Insurance and Seoul National University Foundation. Four Japanese lenders are also currently negotiating with the fund manager to take part in the project.
Mr. Russell also expressed interest in the nation’s media industry, saying the fund manager plans to invest not only in local cable television stations but also in other telecommunications-related facilities such as transmitting towers, relay stations and signal processing stations.
Macquarie Korea Infrastructure Co., another infrastructure fund managed by Macquarie Bank, plans to sell shares worth 940 billion won in its initial public offering scheduled for next week in London and Seoul.
Mr. Russell emphasized Macquarie pioneered the new terrain of investing in infrastructure facilities such as roads and tunnels, saying the funds have posted an annual return of 19.4 percent.

by Yoon Chang-hee
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