Political shakeup could delay APA deal

The recent leadership dispute that saw Malcolm Turnbull displaced and Scott Morrison become prime minister is expected to delay the government’s decision regarding the takeover of APA Group by the CK Consortium, according to APA Chief Executive Mick McCormack.

The Australian reported Mr McCormack said the government would try to avoid giving the federal opposition a target ahead of the Wentworth by-election and the federal election, leaving the timeline for a decision on the takeover up in the air.

“We don’t know when a decision will come out of the Treasurer (but) it will be some time, given the political nuances,” he said.

“I can’t see the government doing anything that might present a target for their political ­opponents and that certainly includes announcing this transaction.”

Mr McCormack also said Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton reportedly wanted to reject the deal for the pipeline owner but “fortunately for the deal, Morrison has got there”.

Gaining approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the next hurdle the takeover must cross, with recent concerns arising over the alleged Chinese influence on consortium leader CK Infrastructure (CKI).

Last week, the Hong Kong-based company was forthright in its refutation of those claims, with CKI Deputy Managing Director Andrew Hunter saying he “can emphatically reject that suggestion”.

Mr McCormack said CKI had a solid track record in Australia.

“They’ve been in Australia for 20 years and APA have been business partners with them since 2005 or 2006,” he said.

“In our experience they’ve been very good corporate citizens.”

CK Consortium’s bid of $11 per share bid for APA will cost approximately $13 billion.

If you have news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Assistant Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au

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