Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital has increased its stake in Santos to 15 per cent by snapping up another 48 million shares in the Australian energy firm overnight.
Santos has confirmed to the Australian stock exchange that Hony Capital bought the shares – equal to 2.3 per cent of the Santos issued capital – after the close of market yesterday, at $3.84 a share.
That was a 6 cent premium on yesterday’s closing price.
The purchase will increase the interest of Hony, Chinese gas distribution company ENN Group and their affiliates to 15.1 per cent, Santos said.
Santos shares were 5¢, or 1.38 per cent, higher at $3.68 at 9.30am.
Hony Capital has about $US10 billion of assets under management, according to its website, with investments in China and internationally in sectors including machinery and equipment, pharmaceutical and healthcare and financial services.
The firm claims to be an expert in restructuring state-owned enterprises.
Hony’s stake in Santos has varied: in November it paid $159 million to increase its stake in Santos, eight months after selling an 11.7 per cent shareholding in Santos to ENN Group – a major Chinese gas distribution company.
Santos made a $500 million private placement to Hony in November 2015 as part of $3.5 billion in capital raising initiatives.
Hony Capital chairman John Zhao said at the time his group had invested in Santos “because of its strategic position in Australia and synergies with the rapidly growing China energy market”.
Hony took an equity stake in ENN as part of the Santos share sale.
The West Australian