Investors eye Shell NZ assets

A consortium including Infratil the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has entered into exclusive negotiations for Shell’s refining and downstream businesses in New Zealand, a deal analysts estimate may be worth up to NZ$600m.

New Zealand-based infrastructure investor Infratil is closing in on the acquisition of a bundle of oil distribution assets in New Zealand from oil group Shell.

Oil assets:
Infratil closing in

Morrison & Co., Infratil’s manager, said in a New Zealand Stock Exchange filing that a syndicate comprising Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund had entered into exclusive negotiations with Shell over the possible acquisition of Shell New Zealand’s refining and downstream businesses. The assets under negotiation include Shell New Zealand’s supply and distribution infrastructure, its retail and business-to-business fuel business and a 17.1 percent stake in the New Zealand Refining Company.

The company said in the filing that the consortium has submitted a non-binding conditional proposal to Shell and has entered into the final phase of due diligence. It added that it expects negotiations to continue throughout November.

Infratil has not divulged any pricing details for the transaction. However, analysts have said NZ$600 million (€291 million; $427 million) could be a reasonable figure based on the assets’ last annual earnings of around NZ$100 million.

Earlier this week Infratil sold its 90 percent interest in Lübeck Airport in Germany after the airport failed to reach forecasted passenger targets. Infratil exercised a put option in the airport, selling its stake back to the City of Lübeck, the authority from which it had originally acquired the stake. The company said the value of this transaction is around €25.5 million.