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Meridian Energy Considering Sale of Australian Wind Farm

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Meridian Energy Ltd., New Zealand’s biggest electricity generator, is considering selling its share of the A$1 billion ($1.05 billion) Macarthur wind farm in Australia operated by AGL Energy Ltd.

The Wellington-based company hired Macquarie Group Ltd. to find potential buyers for its half of the project, the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

While Meridian is “investigating that potential opportunity,” it hasn’t yet decided if it will sell, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Binns in a telephone interview.

“If there’s a good profit to be made, it’s a chance for us to take any profits and recycle the capital,” Binns said.

Potential buyers of the stake could include pension funds seeking bond-like investments, Binns said. Meridian’s investment in Macarthur was structured as a “low-risk participation” similar to holding an AGL Energy bond, he said.

AGL said in November that it expects to be fully operating the 420-megawatt project in Victoria state by next month. A spokeswoman for Macquarie declined to comment on its role in the possible sale.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bourke in Wellington at cbourke4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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