8 Apr 2009

NZX makes second bid for M-Co

9:22 am on 8 April 2009

Stock market operator NZX has had another go at taking over the running of the electricity market after a failed foray in 2003.

But unlike that attempt, when it made a formal submission to the Electricity Commission to replace current operator, M-Co, and was rebuffed, this time it is planning to buy the firm for an undisclosed amount.

M-Co operates electricity, gas and carbon markets, and NZX chief executive Mark Weldon says it has strong synergies with the way stock markets work.

Mr Weldon says one area he hopes to develop is a liquid hedge market, which would allow firms to protect themselves from the risk of high energy prices when hydro lakes are low.

He says the deal is subject to a further examination of M-Co's business and would be funded by a mix of debt and shares.

M-Co has a half stake in Unlisted, a rival stock exchange, and Mr Weldon says that question is being dealt with separately, and will involve talks at some point with Unlisted's other shareholders.