Near $300 million sale of Probuild to Chinese interests falls through

China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the state-owned Chinese company, has withdrawn its offer.

Near $300 million sale of Probuild to Chinese interests falls through
Near $300 million sale of Probuild to Chinese interests falls through

The near $300 million sale to Chinese interests of the building contractor Probuild has fallen through, after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared the transaction as contrary to Australia's interest.

The Australian Financial Review reported Frydenberg deemed that Probuild was a significant player in a sector that was critical to Australia's economic and social wellbeing.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the state-owned Chinese company, has withdrawn its offer.

The major building contractor is Melbourne-based and largely South African-owned. Late last year Probuild won the National Construction Master Builder of the Year and National High-Rise Apartment Building for The Towers and Ritz Carlton at Elizabeth Quay Project in Perth at the 2020 Master Builders National Excellence in Building and Construction Awards.

The offer attracted rigorous Foreign Investment Review Board scrutiny given the Chinese state-owned builder is the largest construction company in the world.

It has been active in Australia.

The Australian newspaper’s DataRoom column first reported CSCEC’s interest in Probuild in June last year.

Probuild’s parent, South African infrastructure contractor WBHO, holds an 88 per cent interest.

The Probuild founder Phil Mehrten stepped down from the construction group on its 30th anniversary in 2017, when it had a national project pipeline of $5 billion and annual revenue of $2 billion.

The small team’s key early project was to refurbish a shopping centre at Altona Gate in Melbourne’s west.

It went onto projects including Chadstone Shopping Centre, where it has worked on its many major expansions since 1988.

Mehrten took on partners including Wayne Judson and Ted Yencken, then  equity backing from the South Africa-listed WBHO which enabled Probuild to better compete with multinationals.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Melbourne Builders

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scomolad
If it is majorly owned by a South-African Company, why is it Australian governments call for it to sell or not sell? Is not a foreign company anyway? Such double standards and racism.
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