The Strategist

China fails to buy a stake in a key German transmission system operator

07/27/2018 - 15:33

A 20-percent stake in 50 Hertz, which was put up for sale, will be acquired by the German state bank KfW. The government of the Federal Republic of Germany explained its actions by considerations of the security policy.

Daniel X. O'Neil
Daniel X. O'Neil
Once again, China failed to acquire a stake in 50Hertz company, one of the key operators of the transmission system in Germany. The state bank KfW on behalf of the government in Berlin will acquire a 20% stake in 50Hertz for sale, the Ministry of Economy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Belgian enterprise Elia, which owns the remaining 80 percent of the operator company, reported on Friday, July 27.

The report notes that the government of Germany, deciding to acquire a stake in 50Hertz, was guided by security policy considerations, because it is interested in "protecting a critical energy infrastructure." The population and the economy rely on reliable energy supply, the Ministry of Economy of the country indicated. The Office also noted that the purchase of a stake in 50Hertz is an interim solution, and the shares are planned to be resold in the long term.

At the beginning of 2018, the first attempt of the Chinese state concern SGCC to become a co-owner of 50Hertz ended in failure. To keep China away from the deal, Elia then acquired an additional stake, increasing its stake in 50Hertz to 80 percent. SGCC expressed interest in buying the remaining 20 percent of the shares, but Elia again exercised its pre-emptive right to purchase. These shares will now be immediately resold under the same conditions to the German state bank KfW.