Energias de Portugal shareholders block takeover bid by China Three Gorges

LISBON (AFP) – Shareholders in Portugal’s biggest company, Energias de Portugal (EDP), on Wednesday blocked a USD10-billion takeover bid by the state-owned China Three Gorges (CTG) Corporation.

The rejection of the bid by the Chinese energy behemoth comes amid growing unease within the European Union (EU) over a surge of Chinese state investment in and around the bloc.

EDP, an electricity company, said in a statement that the shareholders rejected the takeover because of a regulator requirement that their voting rights be modified.

The company had already said last year the the offer was too low.

“The shareholders decided not approved the change in status of the company,” the EDP statement said. However EDP’s Chairman Antonio Mexia, who served as public works minister 14 years ago, announced after the shareholders’ general assembly that “we are confident about the future of the company and our partnership with CTG”.

CTG had already said earlier this week that, whatever the outcome of the shareholders’ meeting, it would remain a “long term strategic investor” in EDP.

The voting rights reform had been demanded by the Portuguese stock exchange as a condition for its green light to the Chinese offer.

EDP’s current rules prevent any shareholder from having more than 25 per cent of the voting rights, regardless of the size of its shareholding.