A group of Chinese investors operating as a consortium called Elegant Jubilee increased its stake to 51 per cent in the company in discreet dealings between Christmas and the New Year. The power-grab went almost unnoticed because most people were on holiday.
The Chinese have been investing heavily in UK infrastructure over the past few years, including Hinkley Point nuclear power station and National Grid gas pipelines.
Elegant Jubilee was put together by Li Qiang, the founder of Chinese data centre firm Daily-Tech, and is led by Jiangsu Sha Steel Group, China’s largest private steel-maker.
They say they are independent investors with no links to the Chinese state.