Guangdong Investment (GDI) is actively seeking investment opportunities in utilities and infrastructure projects. The company was looking for projects offering 'low risk and steady returns' inside and outside Guangdong, particularly toll roads and bridge acquisitions, chairman Li Wenyue said after its annual general meeting yesterday. The company, an investment arm of the Guangdong provincial government, had $1.6 billion cash on hand at the end of November last year. 'There are quite a few ventures we are working on ... we don't want to take any risks and we take steady returns as our basic principle,' Mr Li said. The company, which is involved in water supply, electricity generation, toll roads and bridges, department stores and hospitality ventures, recorded a 12 per cent return on assets last year. Mr Li said the company, which had plans to build a 400-room hotel in Guangzhou's Tianhe district and was in talks for a contract with the Sheraton Hotels, was also looking at developing economy hotels in Shenzhen. Despite power shortages in the mainland, he said the firm would not invest in any electricity generation plants this year because of lingering uncertainties over tariffs. He said the dividend payouts ratio would be more than 30 per cent this year, with the upper limit established by the number of investment ventures that could be undertaken in the next six months. The company hopes to maintain an investment capital ratio of 50 per cent in each of its ventures. Guangdong Investment's most profitable core business unit - Dongshen Water Supply, which supplies 80 per cent of Hong Kong's drinking water - was expected to remain unaffected by any volume or price cut in water sales to Hong Kong. 'The Guangdong provincial government promised to subsidise any downward adjustments,' Mr Li said.