Hony raises stake in gas producer Santos

The Beijing-based firm had initially backed the company’s A$3.5bn funding round last year.

Beijing-based private equity firm Hony Capital has picked up a 2.25 percent stake in Australian gas and oil producer Santos for A$159.2 million ($121; €111 million), increasing its shares in the company to approximately 3.2 percent, eight months after selling its majority holding in the company.

The deal sees Hony acquiring an additional 40 million shares at A$3.98 a share, according to a statement on the Australian Stock Exchange. Hony did not immediately respond to email queries on the reasons behind the stock buy.

Hony first bought a 7.9 percent stake in Santos in November last year when it backed the company’s A$3.5 billion funding round aimed at slashing the company’s debt. It went on to buy more shares in the group, taking its total ownership to 11.7 percent, according to online reports.

However, a few months later in March, 2016 the firm decided to offload its entire shareholding to a Chinese gas distributor ENN Group, in which Hony has a stake, for $750 million.

Hony is in the process of deploying its 2011-vintage $2.4 billion Hony Fund V as well as its latest buyout fund Hony Fund VIII, which collected $2.7 billion in April this year.

The firm has $7 billion under management across seven private equity funds (five US funds and two RMB-denominated funds) and two RMB-denominated mezzanine funds.

The limited partners in Hony’s funds include Legend Holdings, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings, the National Social Security Fund, China Life Insurance, Singapore state investment firm Temasek, and Goldman Sachs, according to PEI data.

Hony has also invested in 80 companies including machinery company Zoomlion, restaurant chain PizzaExpress and video website PPTV.com.