By Edwin Mitson
The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of Vector's gas transmission and gas distribution businesses outside Auckland to the global fund manager, First State Funds.
The fund manager is paying $952.5 million for the businesses, which operates the pipelines and stations which supply natural gas to most of the major cities and towns in the North Island, as well as the 309km Maui pipeline. It also supplies gas to retailers who service more than 60,000 customers through its distribution businesses.
Shareholders backed the sale at a special meeting which took place last December. The transaction is expected to complete on April 20.
Vector put the assets on the block after carrying out a strategic review of its business.
It says the money will be used to strengthen its balance sheet, fund organic growth in Auckland and seek ventures in unregulated growth markets.
First State Funds comprises two infrastructure funds managed by First State Investments, which is known in Australia as Colonial First State Global Asset Management. It owns around $7 billion in infrastructure assets across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Shares in Vector fell 0.3 percent or 1 cent to $3.37 but have risen 6.6 percent since the start of the year.