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China State Grid, AMP Said to Weigh Bids for N.Z. Utility

China State Grid Corp. and AMP Ltd. are among companies considering buying Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP’s stake in a New Zealand utility, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Indicative offers for the 42 percent stake in Powerco Ltd., the country’s second-biggest electricity and gas distributor by customers, are due this month, two people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Barclays Plc is advising Brookfield on the sale, which may fetch as much as NZ$450 million ($381 million), the people said.

Access Capital Advisers, a Sydney-based fund manager with about $2.6 billion in assets, is also considering a bid for Powerco, the people said. QIC Ltd., an Australian investment fund, owns the rest of Powerco.

China State Grid, the nation’s biggest electricity distributor, in November agreed to acquire 41.1 percent of ElectraNet Pty Ltd., the operator of the main power transmission network in South Australia state. The company is working with Macquarie Group Ltd. as it considers bidding for Powerco, one person said.

Andrew Willis, a spokesman for Brookfield Infrastructure, couldn’t be reached to comment outside of office hours in Toronto. Spokesmen at AMP and Access Capital declined to comment. State Grid didn’t respond to faxed questions regarding a potential bid.

The Wall Street Journal reported State Grid’s interest earlier, citing people it didn’t identify.

Powerco, based in New Plymouth, distributes power to about 320,000 homes on New Zealand’s North Island and gas to about 102,000 homes, according to its website. Brookfield Infrastructure, managed by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc., owns assets in utilities, transportation, energy and timber in North and South America, Europe and Australasia, its website shows.

New Zealand is seeking to raise NZ$1.6 billion from the sale of as much as 49 percent in state-owned utility Mighty River Power Ltd. next month in the nation’s biggest initial public offering.

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