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China Three Gorges mulling US$4b stake sale in overseas unit: sources

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China Three Gorges is exploring selling a stake worth as much as US$4 billion in the state-owned power company's overseas asset portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

[BEIJING] China Three Gorges is exploring selling a stake worth as much as US$4 billion in the state-owned power company's overseas asset portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

The power giant has approached sovereign funds including Singapore's GIC and China Investment Corp about potentially acquiring a minority interest representing between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of China Three Gorges' international assets, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The move toward a stake sale follows the reorganisation of the company's overseas assets into a separate unit that Bloomberg News reported in December. China Three Gorges has been working with advisers on setting up an entity to hold the international assets and bringing in strategic investors, the people have said.

The overseas portfolio as a whole could be valued at as much as US$20 billion, the people said. The company might consider listing the unit or some of the assets at a later stage, they said.

The size of the stake could still change depending on the assets that are ultimately included in the deal, the people said. Considerations are still ongoing and no final decision has been made, they said.

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A minority stake sale would help the company both reduce debt and respond to the Chinese government's urging state-owned companies to implement mixed-ownership reform, a policy meant to increase their efficiency and competitiveness.

Talks are progressing slowly due to factors including the impact of severe flooding in the southern part of the country, which has seen more than two million people along the Yangtze River evacuated, and ongoing challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, the people said.

Representatives for CIC and GIC did not immediately comment on the matter. A representative for China Three Gorges did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

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