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Powerco Integration Progress

Powerco Integration Progress And Completion Of Priority Entitlement Offer

The integration of the former UnitedNetworks assets into Powerco’s business is well underway following the first month of integration activity.

Full integration of the UNL assets is on schedule and is expected to be completed by the target date of 31st January 2003, according to Powerco Chief Executive, Steven Boulton.

“Powerco has had our integration teams working through their structured processes and we have not had any surprises through the implementation of our integration plans. Our integration budget is on target and the synergy benefits, as expected, are also being delivered.”

Mr Boulton said that creating and delivering improved outcomes for all of Powerco’s various stakeholders, including consumers and shareholders, had been the bread and butter activity of Powerco following 10 mergers or acquisitions over the past 10 years.

“We are using the past systems and experience of our staff to once again deliver robust and sustainable outcomes for our stakeholders.”

Powerco sought capital injections from the equity and debt markets to fund the acquisition of the UNL assets. The retail component of Powerco's Priority Entitlement Offer closed on Friday, 29 November 2002. The Offer raised a total of $150 million which will be used to partially fund the acquisition of the selected UNL assets. The remaining funding was provided through the debt markets.

A total of approximately $131.5 million (82,165,475 shares) was subscribed by shareholders and other investors during the Offer period. There was an offer short-fall of approximately $18.5 million (11,584,525 shares) which will be taken up by Macquarie Equities, in accordance with the underwriting arrangements. The short-fall represents approximately 12% of the Offer and Powerco has been advised that nearly all of these shares have already been placed with institutional and other investors, since 29 November. Macquarie Equities now has approximately 1.6 million Powerco shares (1.7% of the Offer), which will amount to 0.5% of the issued shares, following allotment.

The final allotment of new shares is expected to occur on Wednesday, 11 December 2002.

Powerco Chief Executive Steven Boulton said the company was pleased with the strong investor support, given the size of the non-renounceable offer and soft equity market conditions.

"Powerco is forecasting a final dividend for the 2003 financial year of 8 cents per share, and total dividends for the 2004 financial year of 16 cents per share - a strong position in the current climate.”

Powerco is New Zealand’s largest gas distribution company and second largest electricity company in terms of consumer connections with a total of approximately 390,000 connections. Powerco is also owner of New Zealand’s largest electricity and gas distribution networks in terms of system length.

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