The sell of a majority stake in Ausgrid, an Australian state-owned power network has been revived with a proposal submitted by local investors one month after offers from State Grid and Cheung Kong Infrastructure were rejected last month.
According to sources, the New South Wales government, which owns the electricity distributor Ausgrid, received an unsolicited bid from pension fund AustralianSuper and IFM Investors, Australia’s largest infrastructure fund. These companies partnered in 2013 to acquire Port Botany and Port Kembla from the NSW government for AUD5.07 billion.
Ausgrid owns, maintains and operates the electrical distribution networks to 1.6 million customers in Sydney, Central Coast, Hunter Region and Newcastle areas of New South Wales. It was formed in 2011 from the previously state owned energy retailer/distributor, EnergyAustralia, when the retail division of the company, along with the EnergyAustralia brand, was sold by the NSW State Government.
The deal could reach A$10 billion (US$7.48 billion) to become the country’s biggest privatization sale on record.
IFM Investors Chief Executive Officer Brett Himbury said:
“It’s a quality asset. They want to get something approved by the end of the year. We believe our bid is unique because we represent an all-Australian consortium.”
According to State Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian, the Ausgrid sales process has yet to be formally restarted and a final decision on the Australian bid would be made later this year.