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Investment bank also has sights on Alinta
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-22 13:39

Babcock & Brown Ltd, Australia's second-biggest investment bank, is considering a bid for Perth-based electricity and natural gas transmission company Alinta Ltd to rival a management buyout plan.

"Given Alinta's board has sought interested parties, we'll definitely be interested in pursuing it," Chief Executive Officer Phil Green said in Sydney on Saturday.

Alinta said on January 9 it received a takeover approach from management backed by Macquarie Bank Ltd in what would be the country's largest buyout of an energy company, Bloomberg News reported.

Independent directors will consider the buyout proposal alongside an internal restructuring plan and any other offers for the A$6.8 billion (US$5.4 billion) company.

Obvious rival

"Babcock & Brown is an obvious rival bidder given it's got a good knowledge of the company, and is a growing player in the Australian infrastructure market," said Atul Lele, who helps manage the equivalent of US$350 million at White Funds Management in Sydney, including shares in Alinta and Babcock & Brown.

Babcock & Brown buys power stations and other assets that provide predictable returns, then bundles them into funds the company sells to investors and manages for a fee. It owns between three and four percent of Alinta.

The bank may have teamed up with UBS AG, Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty and Deutsche Bank AG for a bid, The Australian Financial Review newspaper said last Tuesday.

"You could expect we'd be involved with other parties, not just on our own," Green said, declining to name potential partners.

Alinta, the nation's biggest energy transmission company, owns electricity and gas distribution networks, gas pipelines, power plants, an asset management business, a wind farm, a stake in an energy retailing unit and other interests. In October it completed a huge asset and debt swap with Australian Gas Light Co.

Babcock & Brown's existing energy interests include a 10 percent stake in an electricity investment fund, Babcock & Brown Power, which is the third-largest non-government owned power generator in Australia's national electricity market. It also manages the company.


Source:Shanghai Daily 
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