New Zealand to sell up to 49 percent of Genesis Energy

WELLINGTON Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:54pm EDT

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The New Zealand government said on Wednesday it would sell up to 49 percent of power company Genesis Energy Ltd GEPWR.UL, earning it up to NZ$800 million ($684.5 million) from the sale.

It said 40 percent of Genesis would be available in a book build with institutional investors, with a further 9 percent available to be sold directly to retail investors.

The government had initially said it would sell between 30 and 49 percent to improve the prospects of a better price for the stock.

The price is being set through a front-end bookbuild, which will take place over the next two days, before the offer opens.

A price range of NZ$1.35 to NZ$1.65 a share has been indicated, while broker valuations have ranged between NZ$1.40 and NZ$1.90 a share.

The offer will open on Saturday, with the company due to list on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges on April 17.

The Genesis sale will end the government's asset sale program, in which 49 percent stakes have been sold in Mighty River Power Ltd (MRP.NZ) and Meridian Energy Ltd (MELCA.NZ), as well as a sell down in Air New Zealand Ltd (AIR.NZ) to 54 percent.

The sales have brought in NZ$3.93 billion so far, which is being used to repay debt and reduce borrowing.

($1 = 1.1688 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Paul Tait)

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