The NSW Government has announced a $10billion lease of electricity asset TransGrid, providing billions of dollars for new infrastructure.

NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian, said that the transaction will deliver gross proceeds of $10.258 billion which will help fund several infrastructure projects across the state as part of the Government’s ‘Rebuilding NSW’ plan.

The successful Australian-led group of companies ‘NSW Electricity Networks’, which had the strongest bid, consists of Canadian pension fund, CDPQ (24.99 per cent), manager of Utilities Trust of Australia, Hastings (20.02 per cent), Tawreed Investments Limited (19.99 per cent), Wren House Infrastructure (19.99 per cent) and Spark Infrastructure, an ASX listed owner of energy infrastructure and Australian infrastructure manager (15.01 per cent).

The landmark 99-year lease will see the consortium become one of the biggest players in the national electricity grid, controlling part of the Federal Government’s fibre optic network and the majority of the nations backup electricity supply.

NSW Electricity Networks was one of several contenders for the bid.

Mr Baird said, “We’ve taken a giant step in spending taxpayers’ money more wisely on things that make a difference to their daily lives like better schools, hospitals, public transport and roads.

“This is a great result for NSW taxpayers and shows the comprehensive plan we took to the election is the right one for the future of NSW.”

Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Government’s proactive engagement with the market, bidders and regulatory bodies, such as the Foreign Investment Review Board, Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, ensured a strong outcome was achieved for the people of NSW.

“This excellent outcome is a sign of the market’s confidence in the NSW economy as Australia’s number one state to do business,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have delivered on our election commitment to lease TransGrid and will now work hard to deliver the much-needed infrastructure to transform NSW.”

The consortium members have a proven track record in the electricity network industry, making them well-placed to operate TransGrid.

Price Commissioner, Professor Allan Fels AO, has signed-off on the TransGrid transaction. The successful consortium has also signed the Electricity Price Guarantee, which confirms total network charges will be lower in 2019 than they were in 2014.

Following the transaction, the NSW Government will retain significant influence over TransGrid as lessor, licensor, as safety and reliability regulator and through the planning system. TransGrid will also continue to be regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator which determines network charges.

The NSW Government is now proceeding with the partial lease of Ausgrid and expects to complete the transaction by mid-2016.

The Government’s advisors for the electricity network transactions are Deutsche Bank and UBS, as joint financial advisors, Allens as legal advisors, and Ernst & Young as taxation and accounting advisors.

Jessica Dickers

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