Australia clears Chow Tai Fook's $3 bln buyout of Alinta Energy

SYDNEY, April 24 (Reuters) - A buyout by Hong Kong's Chow

Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) of gas and electricity retailer

Alinta Energy has been approved by Australia's Foreign

Investment Review Board (FIRB), clearing the way for a deal said

to be worth nearly A$4 billion ($3 billion).

The deal is subject to strict conditions, a spokeswoman for

the FIRB said in an email on Monday.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison decides whether to

approve foreign takeovers after taking advice from FIRB.

A deal would mark a first foray into the Australian energy

sector for CTFE, a privately held conglomerate best known for

retail arm Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group.

The family-controlled business already invests in Australian

property including a joint venture with casino operator Star

Entertainment Group Ltd.

Alinta, owned by private equity companies including TPG

Capital Management LP, had been preparing for an

initial public offering with a valuation from brokers averaging

A$3.4 billion before Chow Tai Fook Enterprises made its offer

last month.

Hong Kong and China combined are the fifth-biggest source of

foreign investment in Australia and Treasurer Morrison has

blocked some recent buyouts citing national security concerns.

Last year he rejected bids from China's State Grid Corp and

Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings for electricity

grid Ausgrid.

But earlier this month he cleared CKI's $5.5 billion bid for

DUET Group, which owns a power grid in the state of Victoria.

($1 = 1.3210 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; editing by Jason Neely)