CORRECTED-Australia's NSW government mulls bids for power stations

Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:45pm EDT

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(Corrects first paragraph to clarify that valuation of assets is from sources)

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY, July 17 (Reuters) - Australia's New South Wales state government is evaluating bids for two power stations, a spokeswoman said on Thursday, assets that sources had said could sell for about A$1 billion ($937.3 million).

NSW, the country's most populous state, is selling the Vales Point and Colongra power stations owned by its Delta Electricity unit, which together generate about 12 percent of the state's power.

A NSW Treasury spokeswoman told Reuters the deadline for initial bids had passed and that investment bank Goldman Sachs, which is conducting the sale for the government, is now preparing a shortlist for final negotiations.

"Indicative bids have been received and they're currently being evaluated," the spokeswoman said without disclosing the number or identities of bidders.

Goldman Sachs did not return calls requesting comment.

The NSW government is among the busiest in a nationwide selldown of infrastructure aimed at raising some A$100 billion to fund capital works and pay down debt.

This week, NSW said it had appointed bankers to prepare for the sale of a 49 percent stake in its roughly A$20 billion electricity distribution network in a deal it aims to push through following an election in early 2015.

Earlier this year the state sold the owner of another two power stations, Macquarie Generation, to energy retailer AGL Energy Ltd for A$1.5 billion, and the world's busiest coal terminal, Port of Newcastle, to Hastings Funds Management Ltd and China Merchants for A$1.75 billion.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Queensland energy retailer ERM Power Ltd, which bid unsuccessfully for Macquarie Generation, said it did not make an indicative bid for the Delta assets.

AGL and rival Origin Energy Ltd, both considered possible domestic bidders, declined to comment. ($1 = 1.0669 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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