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South Africa’s WBHO says potential investor in Probuild withdraws

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South Africa construction firm WBHO says it has been advised by the potential acquirer of its Australian construction firm Probuild that it has withdrawn its proposed investment application in the company.

The Chinese company withdrew its intention after it emerged that the application it lodged with the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board could not be approved on grounds of national security.

State owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation had bid $300 for the buyout.

In a statement WBHO said that commercial terms on the deal had been reached.

“After significant time, investment and ongoing commitment from both WBHO and the potential acquirer in progressing the Proposed Transaction, due diligence was completed and commercial terms of the Proposed Transaction were otherwise materially agreed between the parties.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has fiercely criticised the move , accusing the Australian Government of discriminating against Chinese entities.

The Australian Government has introduced tough new foreign investment rules that came into force on January 1 this year, with regulators given greater powers to review and scrutinise investments that could have national security implications.

WBHO however said that it remains optimistic about the fundamentals of Probuild and its prospects in the Australian market and continues to assess all potential opportunities for Probuild to maximise shareholder value and the value and potential of Probuild.

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