The state-owned operator China Gas has joined forced with investment firm Fosun to put together a bid for a majority stake in the National Grid’s gas distribution network.
The government-owned pipeline, valued at £11 billion, supplies 11 million homes and businesses in England.
The Chinese consortium is one of three parties in the running for the network which is being sold off by the National Grid as it looks to focus on more ‘profitable’ areas of its operation.
The move will sound alarm bells in some parts of Government following the decision to temporarily halt the Hinkley Point nuclear power station deal due to concerns over security and Chinese involvement.
Tory MP John Redwood said: “There could be security concerns but my main concern is that this is not a fair market. I have suggested to the government that they should amend the competition rules to allow intervention if the bidder is a foreign government or is a foreign nationalised industry.
“This is on the grounds that Britain cannot do the same and invest in their industries like this. As I understand it, there is a lot of Chinese state money behind this deal.
“They do not allow us to invest in their industries in the same way. We have been far too generous for too long.”
The other bidding parties for the network are Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Australian Bank Macquarrie.