Meridian to sell Australian power business for $729m

Meridian Energy wind farm (Australian)
Image: Meridian Energy

New Zealand hydropower company Meridian Energy Ltd has agreed to sell its Australian retail electricity business to a consortium of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and infrastructure investors, Reuters reports.

The agreement comes months after the New Zealand-based power company began a review of Meridian Energy Australia, which has about 294MW of renewable generation capacity along with a retail power and gas business.

The sale of the Powershop business to Shell and Infrastructure Capital Group for A$729 million is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, the company said in a statement.

“With emissions the problem, and renewable energy the solution, the buyers are readying to invest heavily in a cleaner future,” Meridian chief executive Neal Barclay said in a statement.

Related article: Spotlight on: Meridian and Powershop Australia CEO Jason Stein

Under the deal, the energy giant’s unit Shell Energy Operations will get the control of Meridian’s Australian online energy retailer Powershop, while ICG will become the owner of the electricity generator’s hydro power and wind farm infrastructure assets in Australia.

Meridian says it will consider returning cash to shareholders and opportunities for new business investments.

Shell, which aims to drop “Royal Dutch” from its name and scrap its dual share structure to move its head office to Britain, said the deal will extend its position as Australia’s largest dedicated electricity retailer to commercial and industrial clients.

“Our aim is to become a leading provider of clean power-as-a-service and this acquisition broadens our customer portfolio in Australia to include households,” Shell executive vice president of renewables and energy solutions Elisabeth Brinton said.