Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Australia Blocks Hong Kong Bid For Gas Firm Over "National Interest"

An oil wellhead stands in a well house at the Caelus Energy LLC Oooguruk Development Project in Harrison Bay Alaska U.S. on Feb. 17 2017 Frydenberg says he will block Hong Kong firm from buying $13bn gas business
Rhonda Young | 10 November, 2018, 03:17

However, Frydenberg said the sheer size of APA, with 15,000 kilometres (9,320 miles) of pipelines, including 74% of pipelines in the most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria, raised concerns about foreign ownership.

"The FIRB was unable to reach a unanimous recommendation, expressing its concerns about aggregation and the national interest implications of such a dominant foreign player in the gas and electricity sectors over the longer term", the Treasurer said.

CK Group has moved to defend its investment record.

He is set to announced his final decision as part of a formal process within two weeks.

"I have formed this view on the grounds that it would result in an undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single company group in our most significant gas transmission business", he said in a statement.

Man breaks into crocodile enclosure, gets bitten
Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park said a man broke into the property and then jumped into a pool full of crocodiles . Surveillance video shows the man, identified as Brandon Keith Hatfield, thrashing around in the water as he's attacked.

Asked to comment, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang called on Australia to drop what he called its "cold war attitude," and to recognize that no one country has a sphere of influence in the region.

Two years ago, some of the companies in the Chinese and Hong Kong-based CK consortium were blocked from buying Ausgrid, the owner of the electricity poles and wires in NSW.

That decision was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he was treasurer.

"My sense is that if the FIRB and the treasurer are taking national security considerations seriously into account, they should say "no" to this particular proposed takeover", Jennings said in September.

The Treasurer stressed that Australia's foreign investment policy was not discriminating against any investor and country, and that his decision was not an adverse reflection on CK Group.

Diwali fireworks push air pollution to ‘severe’ level in India’s capital
The AQI rose from 281 at 7 pm to 291 an hour later and by 10 pm, it was 296, said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The air quality index used by the embassy is a combined measure of poisonous gases and fine airborne particles.

CK Infrastructure Holdings is part of the business founded by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Her visit is the first by an Australian foreign minister in nearly three years and signalled a thawing of relations made frosty by China's anger at debate in Australia about foreign ownership and claims of foreign interference.

"If the takeover proceeded, we'd have about 70 percent or more of electricity and gas infrastructure would be owned by either CKI, a Hong Kong company, or State Grid, a Chinese state-owned entity", Jennings said.

CK, whose Australian portfolio includes power distributor Duet Group, has been blocked in the nation before.

Canberra's legion of China sceptics, from the nuanced to neophyte, will no doubt see it as a reaction against Beijing, something the measured Frydenberg was at pains to avoid in yesterday's statement delivered after the market closed.

French authorities ground Ryanair plane over cash row
The French civil aviation authority said it was over a dispute about illegal subsidies paid to the Irish airline in 2008-2009. Ryanair's fleet is made up mainly of Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which have a list price of more than $90 million each.

Earlier this year, Australia banned China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network citing national security risks, straining relations with Beijing.

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