18 Apr 2013

Large stake in Powerco for sale

3:05 pm on 18 April 2013

A significant % stake in the country's second largest electricity and gas lines company, Powerco, is up for sale.

The Wall Street Journal reported Canada-based Brookfield Infrastructure Partners has put its 42% stake in Powerco on the block and the Chinese government is among the bidders.

Powerco had nearly $2 billion in total assets at 30 September 2012.

The other 58% is owned by Queensland-based investment manager QIC which failed to exercise its pre-emptive right to buy the Brookfield stake.

China's State Grid Corporation has appointed Macquarie Group as its financial advisor ahead of a late April deadline for indicative bids in a sale process run by Barclays.

Shortlisted parties will be notified in May ahead of a final offer deadline in June.

Brookfield, which is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, bought its stake in 2010 through its $A1.6 billion purchase of Australia's Prime Infrastructure.

If it succeeds in buying the Brookfield stake, State Grid will be the second Chinese investor in New Zealand electricity distribution.

Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings bought the Wellington network in 2008 from Vector, the nation's largest lines company.