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1MDB said to shortlist Nebras, CGN Meiya for power plant sale

A share sale and purchase deal between Malaysian state fund 1MDB and China Nuclear Power Corp was listed among the items at a signing event during a joint media conference being held by Prime Minister Najib Razak and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, documents given out by Malaysian government officials showed.

[KUALA LUMPUR] 1Malaysia Development Bhd, the debt-ridden state investment company, has shortlisted bidders including Qatar's Nebras Power QSC and Hong Kong-listed CGN Meiya Power Holdings Co for its energy asset sale, people familiar with the matter said.

Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power International and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia's biggest listed energy company, were also picked to submit final offers for 1MDB's power plants, the people said. The assets may fetch an equity value of as much as 8 billion ringgit (S$2.56 billion), according to two of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

The sale is part of 1MDB's plan to dismantle its assets after it drew criticism from lawmakers for rising borrowings that totaled 41.9 billion ringgit as of March 2014. The state investment company owns a net generation capacity of 5,594 megawatts and is the largest independent power producer in Bangladesh and Egypt, according to its website.

Foreign bidders may be restricted to owning no more than 49 per cent of the plants and will be encouraged to team with a local partner, unless they seek an exemption, the two people said. 1MDB said earlier this month that it has selected four parties to bid for its energy unit, without disclosing the names.

1MDB has 3,112 megawatts of capacity in Malaysia, making it the second-biggest independent power producer there after Malakoff Corp, and has also invested in plants in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. The state investment fund is in discussions with potential parties and expects to reach an agreement by the fourth quarter, 1MDB said in an e-mailed statement.  A spokeswoman for CGN Meiya didn't immediately respond to e-mailed queries. Tenaga Chief Financial Officer Fazlur Rahman Zainuddin didn't immediately answer an e-mail and phone calls seeking comment. Acwa didn't answer phone calls seeking comment during a public holiday, while representatives for Nebras and its controlling shareholder, Qatar Electricity & Water Co, also didn't answer queries during the holiday.

Acwa, headquartered in Riyadh, has developed and invested in power plants that can generate 15,731 megawatts, its website shows. Nebras, set up last year with backing from the Qatari sovereign fund, is developing power projects in the Middle East and seeking acquisitions in regions including Southeast Asia and Europe.

State-backed CGN Meiya, an arm of China's biggest atomic power generator, owns assets including thermal, gas-powered, wind and solar power plants in China and South Korea.