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China's grid giant plans to quadruple overseas assets by 2020

11/10/2012 | 10:37pm US/Eastern

State Grid Corp of China plans to more than quadruple its overseas assets to $30 billion-$50 billion by 2020 from the current $8 billion, as the country's dominant power grid distributor seeks to further diversify away from the domestic market, the company president said.

"Our global business is a very important part of the overall business of State Grid," Liu Zhenya told a media briefing on the sidelines of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

Overseas assets should account for at least one tenth of State Grid's current total assets of around 2.3 trillion yuan ($368 billion) by 2020, Liu said.

China's cashed-up state power groups have been scooping up overseas assets in the past few years, with State Grid - the world's largest state utility - establishing a presence in the Philippines, Brazil and Portugal.

The firm had invested more than $5 billion overseas, where its assets are now worth about $8 billion, Liu said, adding that overseas assets yielded higher returns than domestic operations.

State Grid, whose overseas investment is focused on power grids and electrical appliance manufacturing businesses, was engaged in talks for more acquisitions, he said, without giving details. The firm has set up offices in nine countries in the Americas, Europe and Africa.

State Grid was interested in joining a renewable energy investment consortium aimed at expanding the use of renewable energy in Europe and North Africa, a spokesman for the consortium, Desertec, said earlier this month.

Spread over 6,500 square miles - more than half the size of Belgium - the project's planned delivery of 1,064 terawatt hours (TWh) would be almost enough energy to power the whole of Germany for two years.

($1 = 6.2450 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Xu Wan, Charlie Zhu and David Lin; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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