Macquarie Consortium Lands Lease for New South Wales's Power Utility

By Robb M. Stewart Features Dow Jones Newswires

MELBOURNE, Australia--A consortium led by investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG.AU) has secured control of one of the largest electricity-distribution networks in Australia's populous New South Wales, delivering 7.62 billion Australian dollars (US$5.61 billion) to the state's coffers.

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The government said Thursday that it had concluded a "poles and wires" asset-recycling by awarding a lease over a 50.4% stake in Endeavour Energy to the Advance Energy consortium. The state will retain the remaining interest in the operation.

With the sale, the New South Wales government said it had secured funding for a A$20 billion infrastructure-investment plan that has been earmarked for new schools, hospitals, roads, rail and cultural institutions.

Macquarie has a slightly more than 30% stake in the Advance Energy venture, and Australia's AMP Ltd. (AMP.AU), on behalf of REST Industry Super, has 25%. British Columbia Investment Management Corp. has a 25% interest, and the Qatar Investment Authority just under 20%.

The sale has received regulatory clearances and approval from the federal Treasury, the state government said.

The consortium said it comprises long-term investors with experience in investing and managing regulated utilities across the world. Endeavour serves many growing regions across the eastern state, supplying electricity to 2.4 million people in homes and businesses in Sydney's west, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Illawarra and the South Coast.

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Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2017 22:21 ET (02:21 GMT)