National Grid has sold a majority stake in its gas pipe network to a consortium led by Australian investment bank Macquarie and which includes backing from Qatari and Chinese state investors.
The private-sector company sold a 61% shareholding in its gas pipe arm in a deal which values the division at about £13.8 billion.
National Grid will receive £3.6 billion cash for the stake in its gas arm, as well as a further £1.8 billion in debt financing. It will retain a 31% stake in the business.
National Grid will return £4 billion to shareholders after the deal, and it will make a voluntary payment of £150 million to the benefit of British energy consumers.
A total of 5,700 employees are involved in the in scope of sale, while 130,000km of pipes are being transferred.
John Pettigrew, chief executive, National Grid, also said there was the potential for a further 14% stake to be sold to the consortium.