12 Jan 2007

New Zealand power company pulls out of Tonga

4:25 pm on 12 January 2007

The anti-government riot in Tonga in November has prompted New Zealand electricity lines company Northpower to pull out of negotiations to buy Tongan electricity company Shoreline Power.

Last August Northpower confirmed it was interested in buying Shoreline, previously the state-owned Tonga Electricity Power Board.

Marketing director Darren Mason said then that the Northland company had a relationship with Tonga and used Tongan linemen in its business.

Shoreline was given on a long-term lease to Tongan King George Tupou V by the royal-controlled government eight years ago, when he was crown prince.

King George had been asking $46 million for Shoreline and the government was intending to buy Shoreline from him and onsell it.

The Dominion newspaper quotes Northpower chairman Warren Moyes as saying Northpower recognised that it was untenable to continue the sales process after the November riot.