Wind farm sale will see energy company soar

windNEW Zealand electricity giant Meridian Energy has sold its stake in the $1 billion Macarthur wind farm in Victoria to explore new opportunities.
Meridian and AGL Energy formed a 50/50 joint venture in 2010, after working on the development, which was deemed the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, since 2007.
The Macarthur wind farm comprises 140 Vestas 3 megawatt turbines and has the capacity to power more than 220,000 Victorian homes. It was completed earlier this year.
The sale was valued at $659 million and came just before the end of the financial year. Meridian is planning for a 49 per cent float to privatise the company in the third quarter of this year.
Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said that while the sale occurred earlier than the company had originally planned, Meridian could invest in new projects.
“While the Macarthur investment was intended to be held over the full project term, the low interest rate environment and the opportunity to invest in further wind farms in Australia provided a compelling reason to look at a sale and the reinvestment of funds in future renewable generation options in Australia,” he said.
The 50 per cent stake in Macarthur was bought by Malaysian power generator and retailer Malakoff Corporation, which has interests in Algeria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and is building a US$600 million wind farm in Pakistan.
“The sale of our share in Macarthur, at an enterprise value of $659 million, has delivered a return that reflects our early stage involvement in development and our investment in construction plus capitalised interest, holding costs and other expenses,” Mr Binns said.
“This shows that Meridian’s renewable led strategy is in good shape.” Meridian is constructing the 131MW, 64 turbine Mount Mercer wind farm 30km south of Ballarat; it also operates the Mount Millar wind farm in South Australia and is assessing renewable energy opportunities across the National Electricity Market in addition to launching online retail brand Powershop.
The company provides about 88 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity from hydro dams and wind farms.