Caixin
Nov 11, 2021 05:53 AM
BUSINESS

Li Ka-shing Adds Hydrogen Bet to Bolster $31 Billion Fortune

Li Ka-shing
Li Ka-shing

(Bloomberg) — Li Ka-shing earned a fortune in plastics, logistics and oil during his career. Now the billionaire and his family are betting on renewable energy.

CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd., a shareholder in gas and electricity businesses run by Li’s eldest son Victor, invested recently in the hydrogen private equity fund HYCAP, according to a statement from the Hong Kong-based company sent to Bloomberg News. Earlier this year, the investment firm of the senior Li, 93, bought stakes in Syzygy Plasmonics and H2Pro, two producers of the gas, as well as a startup for powering airplanes with it.

Hydrogen from renewable sources is becoming an increasingly popular energy option as more nations and businesses seek to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing climate change. The market for it in the utilities industry could be worth about $12 trillion by 2050, according to research from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last year.

“We are of the view that hydrogen will be of significant importance in decarbonizing energy and transport systems,” Andrew Hunter, CK Infrastructure’s deputy managing director, wrote in the statement.

Li Ka-shing — nicknamed “Superman” by admirers for his deal-making success — parlayed proceeds of a plastics business he set up in 1950 into property and later took control of the Hong Kong firm that became CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., an investor in ports, rail services and hydro-electric projects. The tycoon, with a net worth estimated at $31.3 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, also holds stakes in Zoom Video Communications Inc. and oil company Cenovus Energy Inc. His investment firm, Horizons Ventures, was an early backer of companies including Spotify Technology SA and Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms Inc.

Horizons Ventures invested in Syzygy, H2Pro and aviation firm ZeroAvia in fund-raising rounds publicly announced in March and April. HYCAP, which launched in September, is aiming to raise 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) to help boost the U.K.’s production and supply of hydrogen from renewable sources. Jo Bamford, a member of the family behind one of the world’s largest construction-equipment makers, set up the fund with multifamily office Vedra Partners.

Controlled by CK Hutchison, CK Infrastructure is already a major hydrogen backer from its companies’ projects to build a production facility for the gas in Australia and roll out British trains running on it. It’s also promoting ways to use it across the U.K.’s gas distribution networks.

Contact editor Bob Simison (hello@caixin.com)

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