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Meridian pays $800 million special dividend

29 May 2006

Meridian pays $800 million special dividend

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Finance Minister Michael Cullen flanked by Meridian Energy's Wayne Boyd and Keith Turner – image courtesy Ken George

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today welcomed receipt of the $800 million special dividend from Meridian Energy.

Meridian Energy chairman Wayne Boyd handed the cheque to Dr Cullen at a special ceremony in the Beehive.

The bulk of the cheque ($600 million) represents the profit on the sale of Meridian's Australian subsidiary, Southern Hydro.

"It's a tribute to Meridian Energy's business acumen. I am especially heartened that New Zealanders for a change can cross the Tasman and return with more than just the Bledisloe Cup."

Mr Boyd said the success of the Southern Hydro purchase and sale, as well as Meridian’s strong financial performance, makes it appropriate for the company to pay a special dividend to its shareholder.

“One of our key tasks as an SOE is to grow value for our shareholders – who are ultimately all of the people of New Zealand – and it is appropriate that we share the fruits of our success with them in this way.”

"It's a great result for New Zealand," said Dr Cullen. "As announced in Budget 2006, the proceeds allow the government to cover the shortfall identified in the National Land Transport Programme. It will mean projects that may have been delayed will now proceed on time."

The $A1.425 sale of Southern Hydro was announced last November. It included the 62 megawatts (MW) of hydro assets in New South Wales bought by Meridian for $A85 million in April 2001, the 540MW, $A600 million Southern Hydro assets purchased in May 2003, the 91MW Wattle Point wind farm it commissioned in May last year, as well as several wind farm and hydro developments in the advanced development planning stages.

ENDS

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