Li Ka-shing

CK Life Sciences buys top Australian salt producer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 3:52pm

Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing is buying Australia’s largest salt producer Cheetham Salt in a deal worth US$157 million, a subsidiary of his Cheung Kong group said on Thursday.

The A$150 million deal is the firm’s third investment in Australia this year after it bought agricultural and horticultural wholesaler and distributor Peaty Trading Group in January and three vineyards in October.

“The acquisition of Cheetham will enrich our existing investment portfolio and strengthen the profitability of our agriculture-related business,” Cheung Kong Life Sciences chief executive officer Kam Hing-lam said in a statement.

CK Life Sciences, chaired by Li’s eldest son and heir to his Cheung Kong conglomerate, Victor, is involved in the marketing and selling of products related to health and agriculture.

Cheetham Salt operates eight solar salt fields and five refineries in Australia, with business assets in New Zealand and Indonesia. It has the capacity to produce 1.4 million tonnes annually, the firm’s website said.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of February next year.