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Minister On Meridian Energy's Australian Purchase

23 April 2001 Media Statement

Minister welcomes Meridian Energy's Australian purchase

The Minister for State Owned Enterprises Mark Burton has welcomed the successful bid by Meridian Energy for hydro generation assets in Australia.

"Shareholding Ministers fully support this growth initiative by Meridian Energy," Mark Burton said.

"Pursing legitimate business proposals is one of the principal functions of an SOE in order to add and consolidate shareholder value. This can include appropriate offshore investments, as long as they don't detract from the core business of the company.

"Shareholding ministers carefully consider all such proposals on a case by case basis," Mark Burton said.

"In this case, we believe the Australian investment fits well with the company's core business and expertise. While significant, at a cost of just over $100 million, it is relatively modest when compared with the $1 billion Lower Waitaki project in the South Island being investigated by Meridian Energy.

"The Government has a policy of retaining and growing SOEs, for the benefit of New Zealanders. The strategic direction being followed by the Board and management of Meridian Energy reflects well this policy," Mark Burton said.

ENDS

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