BERLIN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), one of the world's largest utility firms, is likely to acquire a share of the North-East German electricity grid, German media reported on Friday.
The Chinese state-owned company could take over a 20-percent stake of the private electricity network operator 50Hertz from the Australian investment fund IFM, according to a report by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
50Hertz is currently responsible for transmission systems in eastern Germany and Hamburg and is majority-owned by the Belgian electricity company Elia, which holds a 40-percent stake.
According to 50Hertz, Elia has right of first refusal to acquire IFM's shares and could hence prevent the Australian company from passing half of its 40-percent ownership on to SGCC. However, 50Hertz chief executive officer (CEO) Boris Schucht emphasized on Friday that he welcomed Chinese involvement.
Schucht noted that his company was already entirely foreign-owned and highlighted the potential of cooperating with SGCC to advance plans to place a greater focus on environmentally-friendly energy.
"We want to progress in this area with an expanded group of partners," the CEO said. China has become a major global player in the renewable energy market in recent years and is already the world's largest producer of solar panels.
SGCC is responsible for the lion share of the Chinese electricity grid. 50Hertz currently serves around 18 million customers in Germany.
The acquisition of the 20-percent stake in 50Hertz by SGCC could be completed by the summer of 2018 if Elia does not make use of its purchase option.