Meridian buys Trustpower's Oz hydro plants for $175m

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NZN

Meridian Energy has agreed to buy Trustpower's Australian hydro-electric generation assets for $175 millon, which it says will support an expanding retail business across the Tasman.

Meridian Energy sign

Source: 1 NEWS

Wellington-based Meridian will buy the shares of GSP Energy in Australia, subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, adding three power stations generating 92.4 megawatts to its portfolio in Australia, it said today.

The former Green State Power hydro assets are the Hume, Burrinjuck and Keepit power stations in New South Wales.

"Meridian is building our portfolio of complementary Australian renewable generation to support our growing retail business," chief executive Neal Barclay said.

Customers were using Meridian's online model that showed them how much power they are using and what it costs.

"We're finding there is a strong and growing desire from Australian electricity consumers to support a 'green' energy retailer," he said.

Tauranga-based Trustpower started reviewing its ownership of the Australian assets in August. Infratil-controlled Trustpower says it will reap a "significant gain" on the $79.3 million price it paid in 2014.

"We came to the view that while the assets in GSP Energy were generating solid cash flows, they were no longer a strategic fit for Trustpower without a broader Australian platform," chief executive Vince Hawksworth said.

Trustpower spun out its wind and solar generation facilities into separately listed Tilt Renewables in October 2016 and since then has focused its strategy on the New Zealand business.

Meridian already has wind-farms in Australia and more than 100,000 customers on its Powershop branded retail business but has been dealing with an uncertain policy environment.

Australia has been a happy hunting ground for New Zealand's biggest electricity generator, with Meridian booking a $600 million profit 12 years ago when it sold its then-Australian subsidiary Southern Hydro for $A1.42 billion.

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