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Approval granted for Vector Wellington network sale

Wednesday 16 July 2008, 7:05PM

By Michael Cullen

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WELLINGTON

Consent has been granted to the joint bid by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (CKI) and Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited (HKE) to acquire up to 100 percent of the shares of Vector Wellington Electricity Network Limited (VWENL), Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

 

“I am confident that CKI and HKE have met all the Overseas Investment Act 2005 criteria that are relevant to the purchase of a significant business asset, including business experience and acumen and financial commitment,” Dr Cullen said.

 

“The Wellington Electricity Network does not involve any sensitive land. As a result, none of the national interest tests that were the subject of discussion over Auckland International Airport earlier this year applied in this case.

 

“The hurdle the applicants had to clear was significantly lower.”

 

CKI and HKE form part of the Cheung Kong group, which is the largest business conglomerate in Hong Kong with interests in 55 countries, including property, energy, telecommunications and various kinds of infrastructure investments.

 

CKI has significant shareholdings in the major electricity networks of South Australia and Victoria, as well as a company supplying power to Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada.

 

VWENL owns the assets that relate to Wellington’s electricity network. The network serves customers in Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua and Wellington City. Vector acquired its Wellington network in 2002 from Aquila, an American company. Prior to that Transalta, a Canadian company, owned it.

 

The Overseas Investment Office decision sheet on this application can be found at :

http://www.oio.linz.govt.nz/pdf/cheung-kong-infrastructure-holdings-decision-sheet.pdf