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Powerco Shareholders Approve Bonds Issue

Friday May 3, 2002

At a special meeting in New Plymouth today, Powerco shareholders approved the issuing of up to $100 million of Capital Bonds.

Standard & Poor’s has rated the Capital Bonds with a “BBB’ credit rating whilst the Company has maintained its long-term credit rating of “A-”.

Chairman Barry Upson advised that the Powerco Board has approved an interest rate for the period up to the first Election Date (22 May 2007), being the higher of:

- 8.4%, or

- the interpolated 5 year Government Stock rate (determined on 30 May 2002), plus a margin of 1.65%.

Interest will be paid quarterly in arrears on 22 August, 22 November, 22 February and 22 May each year.

The interest rate and term will be reset at each Election Date with the first interest term being for approximately 5 years to 22 May 2007. Investors who do not wish to roll-over their capital bonds on an Election Date will have the option to elect to:

- sell their bonds at par via a special resale facility established for that purpose (without incurring brokerage costs), and

- to convert the bonds into ordinary shares if they cannot be sold through the resale facility.

The issue will be launched on Monday 6 May and close on 29 May. ABN AMRO Rothschild and ABN Amro Craigs Limited are lead managers for the issue, which is open to all New Zealand resident investors. Co-managers for the issue are ASB Securities Limited, Forsyth Barr Limited, Forsyth Barr Frater Williams Limited and Macquarie Equities New Zealand Limited.

A $5 million shareholder and bondholder priority pool is available, with the $95 million balance subscribed for by way of firm allocations to member firms of the NZ Stock Exchange.

Mr Upson said the capital raising would be used to refinance an existing short-term bank facility. The existing arrangements were utilised to purchase the Porirua and Hutt Valley gas distribution networks from AGL in July last year. This investment is a continuation of Powerco’s focus on growth.

The Powerco Capital Bonds Investment Statement and Prospectus will be available from investment advisors and on the Powerco website www.powerco.co.nz from Monday 6 May.

Application has been made to the NZ Stock Exchange for permission to list the capital bonds, and all the requirements of the Stock Exchange relating thereto that can be complied with on or before the date of distribution of this media release have been duly complied with. However, the Stock Exchange accepts no responsibility for any statement in this media release.

Powerco recently announced an audited operating surplus after tax of $33.0 million for the 12 months ended 31 March 2002. This compares with the previous proforma result of $29.9 million for the 2001 period, which reflected the full financial year excluding the one-off costs for merging the former Powerco and CentralPower companies. The surplus improvement in 2002 was largely attributable to Powerco’s acquisition of the Hutt Valley and Porirua assets, other investments and ongoing management of cost structures. Powerco’s total assets now approach approximately $868 million.

Powerco is New Zealand’s third largest electricity and gas network utility with around 205,000 customers connected to networks in Taranaki, Wanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington and has more than 16,000 shareholders.

ends


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