ERM Power Says Macquarie Generation Would Accelerate Growth

ERM Power Ltd., shortlisted by Australia’s most populous state to bid for two government-owned power stations, said owning the assets would help speed the company’s growth in electricity sales.

“It certainly represents a transformational opportunity,” Philip St Baker, chief executive officer of Brisbane-based ERM Power, said today in a phone interview after the company said it had been shortlisted by the New South Wales government. “It does present an opportunity to accelerate the growth of the company going forward, over and above an already attractive trajectory.”

ERM, Australia’s fourth-largest electricity retailer, has submitted an initial bid for Macquarie Generation and will study its finances before deciding whether to make a final offer, St Baker said. AGL Energy Ltd. and Shenhua Group Corp. also were shortlisted for the owner of the Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations in the Hunter Valley, the Australian Financial Review reported today, without saying where it got the information.

The assets may fetch as much as A$1.5 billion ($1.4 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said in August. They said AGL Energy and Shenhua were among expected bidders.

Karen Winsbury, a spokeswoman for AGL in Melbourne, declined to comment. The New South Wales government also declined to comment.

Shares of ERM rose 3.2 percent to A$2.89 as of 3:08 p.m. in Sydney, while Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.9 percent.

ERM expects a 28 percent increase in electricity sales for fiscal 2014 after a 34 percent gain last year, according to St Baker.

ERM expects to bid without a partner to “fully leverage” the potential Macquarie Generation opportunities, he said, declining to say when the company aims to lodge a final bid for the largest electricity supplier in New South Wales state.

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