28 Sep 2010

Change in Powerco ownership possible

7:02 am on 28 September 2010

The ownership of electricity and gas network company Powerco may be about to change.

An Australian firm, Prime Infrastructure, is in talks with fellow shareholder and Australian institutional fund manager QIC about selling its 42% stake.

Alternatively, Prime is considering buying an 8% holding from QIC, which owns 58%.

The talks have been triggered after QIC refused to give consent to Prime's proposed merger with Brookfield Infrastructure, which Prime required under an existing agreement.

Both parties stress no sale may occur.

Valuer Grant Samuel estimates Powerco's stake is worth between $346 million and $388 million.

Powerco, which has about 420,000 customers connected to its networks from Tauranga to Wellington, says its day to day operations are unaffected by the negotiations.