The Australian government has preliminarily blocked bids from a Chinese Hong Kong bidders from taking a controlling stake in the country’s largest electricity grid over national security concerns.

In a statement, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said the proposals for a 50.4 percent controlling stake in Ausgrid “were contrary to the national interest”.

He continued:

“During the review process national security issues were identified in critical power and communications services that Ausgrid provides to businesses and governments. I am, of course, open to consider what the bidders put to me, but at this stage no suitable mitigations have been identified that would, for the proposed transaction structure, appropriately address the identified risks.”

Neither firm has commented on the decision.

The move comes after the UK postponed approval of the Hinkley Point nuclear power project, where the Chinese firm General Nuclear Power Corporation will have a minority stake, over similar security concerns.

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