Sempra Energy announced it is selling its interests in Peruvian energy businesses to China Yangtze Power International for US$3.59 billion in cash. Credit: Sempra Energy.

China Yangtze Power International has agreed to buy Peru’s largest electric company Luz del Sur from Sempra Energy for US$3.6 billion, both companies confirmed on Monday.

Infinitive data shows that the deal is the biggest acquisition made by a Chinese state-owned enterprise in the Americas since 2015, reported.

Sempra said the cash deal, which includes a near 84% stake in Lima-based Luz del Sur, has to be approved by the Peruvian anti-trust agency and the Bermuda Monetary Authority. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Sempra also announced in the statement that its subsidiary Sempra LNG has entered into a memorandum of understanding with China Three Gorges Corporation, the parent company of CYP, over potential cooperation in supplying liquefied natural gas to support demand growth in China, including the growth of natural gas power generation.

“This initial agreement with CTG represents an opportunity to support strong growth in natural gas demand in Asia, with future expansions of our LNG projects right here in North America,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy.

Sempra intends to use the deal proceeds to bolster its balance sheet and fund capital needs for its core utilities in California and Texas, Martin said in the statement.

The company says an active sales process continues for its electric businesses in Chile, and it expects to announce an agreement during the fourth quarter.

Since the announcement to sell the South America businesses, Sempra’s shares rose by about 28% before market close.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sempra recently opened the sprawling Cameron LNG facility on the Louisiana Gulf Coast that, through the liquefaction process, takes domestically produced natural gas and cools it to minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit, where it can then be loaded onto specially made cargo tanks on double-hulled ships and taken to destinations around the world.

Imports to Asia make up a large percentage of the global LNG market and China, eager to transition from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas, has quickly emerged as a prime destination, the report said.

Sempra indirectly owns 50.2% of Cameron and has plans to expand its Cameron operations as well as constructed another LNG facility near Port Arthur, Texas.

The company is also considering adding an export component to an already existing LNG facility on the west coast of Mexico that is operated by its IEnova subsidiary that could ship LNG directly to Asian markets without having to go through the Panama Canal.

With more than US$60 billion in total assets reported in 2018, Sempra Energy’s companies employ more than 20,000 people and serve a customer base of about 40 million worldwide.

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