EEW Takeover

Chinese Interest in German Waste

EEW Picture Alliance DPA
EEW's waste-disposal factories could help China grapple with its own waste problem.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If a Chinese firm acquires EEG, it would mark the largest Chinese investment yet in a German firm.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • A total of four companies – two Chinese and two European – are bidding to acquire EEW, which could cost as much as €1.8 billion ($2 billion).
    • Swedish private-equity firm EQT, the current owner of EEW, is expected to make a decision by mid-February.
    • EEW operates 19 waste power plants to generate electricity, steam and heat, and posted annual sales of more than €500 million in 2015.
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    Audio

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Germany’s EEW spared no expense to welcome its high-profile guests from the Far East. The program included a tour of its waste-burning facilities, which are used to generate renewable energy, as well as detailed talks with top managers and even a bit of sightseeing around Germany.

Clearly, the delegation from China Tianying, which visited in December and January, liked what they saw. The company has put in an aggressive bid to acquire the German waste-management and renewable energy firm from its current owner, Swedish private-equity firm EQT.

In total, two Chinese firms and two European companies are bidding to buy EEW, Energy from Waste, for as much as €1.8 billion, or $2 billion, Handelsblatt has learned.

If one of the two Chinese firms, China Tianying or Beijing Enterprises, succeeds in buying EEW, it would be the biggest-ever Chinese takeover in Germany, topping the $1-billion deal of machine maker KraussMaffei announced just two weeks ago.

In addition to the two Chinese firms, German power station operator Steag has teamed up with Australian investor Macquarie Group to bid for EEW, while Finnish utility Fortum is also in the running, people familiar with the sale told Handelsblatt, confirming an earlier report by Reuters.

EEW has an attractive model: The one-time subsidiary of German utility E.ON is a pioneer in the business of using waste to generate renewable electricity. It’s one of the many examples of innovative businesses that China sorely needs to grow.

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