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Australia competition watchdog okays bid by Hong Kong's CKI for APA Group

Reuters

(Adds APA response, details)

Sept 12 (Reuters) - Australia's competition watchdog said on Wednesday it would not oppose a proposed A$12.98 billion ($9.2 billion) bid for APA Group by a consortium led by Hong Kong's CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which began reviewing the deal in June, said it had accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the CK Consortium to divest significant gas assets in Western Australia.

The undertaking addressed the regulator's concerns about the loss of competition in Western Australia's gas pipeline development market, it said.

APA Group, Australia's biggest gas pipeline company, said in a separate statement that the bid still required approvals from the Foreign Investment Review Board, APA security holders and the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

The deal would make CKI - part of an empire founded by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing - a major gas pipeline player on Australia's east coast, giving it more pricing power in a market where high gas prices have become a political issue.

($1 = 1.4051 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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