YTL Power International—controlled by Malaysian tycoon Francis Yeoh and his siblings—is selling its 33.5% stake in Australian electricity distributor ElectraNet to Australian Utilities for about 3 billion ringgit ($717 million), raising cash for the group’s renewable energy projects.
“This transaction presented us with the opportunity to realize gains from a mature investment, further optimize the balance of assets in our business portfolio and increase the flexibility to deploy our cash reserves towards viable new ventures that complement our existing businesses,” YTL Power managing director, Yeoh Seok Hong, said in a statement on Tuesday. “These include, in particular, new investments in solar energy and other renewables, in line with our shift towards more sustainable energy solutions moving forward.”
The company is developing a large scale solar farm with an electricity generation capacity of 500 megawatts in the Kulai Young Estate in the southern Malaysian state of Johor. The facility is located about 60 kilometers north of Singapore, a key market for YTL Power.
YTL Power said it will book an exceptional gain of 2.2 billion ringgit from the sale of its stake in ElectraNet, the group’s first international investment that it has held since 2000. The company owns power generating assets across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It also operates a water utility in the U.K. and holds a controlling interest in Malaysian mobile carrier Yes.
Founded in 1993 as one of Malaysia’s independent power producers, YTL Power is part of YTL Corp., which was established by Francis Yeoh’s late father Yeoh Tiong Lay more than six decades ago. The younger Yeoh helms the family’s global business empire, which has interests in cement, utilities, properties and hotels, including the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur. With a net worth of $1.25 billion, which he shares with his siblings, Yeoh, 67, was ranked No. 17 on the list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest that was published in June.