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Meridian Energy appoints advisor for Australian as

Media release: 10 June 2005

Meridian Energy appoints advisor for Australian assets

Meridian Energy today announced today that it has appointed Credit Suisse First Boston and First NZ Capital to test the market for a possible trade sale of Southern Hydro, its Australian subsidiary.

“Over the last few months I have had quite a number of approaches from a range of companies who have recognised the increasing value of renewable energy assets, enquiring whether Meridian would be interested in a full or partial sale of Southern Hydro,“ said Keith Turner, Chief Executive of Meridian Energy and Chairman of Southern Hydro.

“Our Australian investment has always been about creating extra value for our shareholder. We have a medium-term strategy for growing that value organically, but given the level of informal interest shown already it is only prudent to test the market now with a comprehensive and transparent process.”

Dr Turner stressed that there were a range of possible outcomes from the process, ranging from an outright sale through partial sale to continuing ownership by Meridian Energy. “We have a very clear view of the increasing value path for Southern Hydro over the next few years as it enhances its existing assets and develops new energy projects. Our working assumption is that Meridian will continue to own and develop Southern Hydro, and it will be up to other parties to convince us otherwise with an offer that recognises our view of long-term business value.”

Nick Schiffer - Director, Investment Banking at CSFB - believes that there will be global interest in Southern Hydro. “Southern Hydro is one of the largest pure-play renewable energy businesses in the world, and has a substantial growth profile and a track record of successful project development. In the Australian market, Southern Hydro is uniquely positioned to provide capacity insurance products because of its large peak generation capacity and quick start capability.”


About Meridian Energy
Meridian Energy is New Zealand’s largest state-owned enterprise, with assets of NZ$4.3 billion and a BBB+ credit-rating from Standard & Poors. It is also New Zealand’s largest generator of electricity, producing more than 13,000 GWh of electricity from hydro-electric and wind power stations.

About Southern Hydro
Southern Hydro operates 737MW of renewable energy plant across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia including Australia's largest wind farm, the 91MW Wattle Point facility. Its 646 MW of hydro power resources draw from nine separate catchment areas and provide fast start peaking power to the Australian national grid. It has a range of wind and hydro projects under development.

About Credit Suisse First Boston
Credit Suisse First Boston or CSFB is the trade name for the investment banking business of Credit Suisse and its subsidiaries and affiliates. CSFB is a leading global investment bank serving institutional, corporate, government and individual clients. Its businesses include securities underwriting, sales and trading, investment banking, private equity, financial advisory services, investment research, venture capital, correspondent brokerage services and asset management. CSFB operates in 69 locations in 33 countries across five continents. CSFB is a business unit of the Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group, a leading global financial services company.

About First NZ Capital
First NZ Capital is New Zealand’s only full service, wholly New Zealand owned, sharebroking and investment banking firm. First NZ Capital has a strategic alliance with CSFB and works jointly with CSFB on cross-border transactions involving New Zealand companies.

About the process
Meridian will conduct a two-stage trade sale process to test the value of Southern Hydro. The two stages will involve:

1. Distribution of an Information Memorandum to parties who have expressed interest and executed a confidentiality agreement, and the invitation of indicative offers; and
2. Invited parties conducting full due diligence, leading to binding final offers.

Meridian expects the process to be completed by October 2005.

All enquiries from potential buyers of Southern Hydro should be directed to Nick Schiffer at CSFB (ph. +613 9280 1771).

© Scoop Media

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