Igneo Infrastructure Partners has bought New Zealand electricity distributor Eastland Network for NZ$260m (€155m) from Eastland Network and its sole shareholder, Trust Tairāwhiti.

Eastland Network is the electricity lines company for Tairāwhiti and Wairoa in New Zealand’s North Island. The asset will be folded into Firstgas Group, a business of Igneo.

Igneo said the acquisition would bolster Igneo’s position as a diversified energy utility in New Zealand, with Eastland providing electricity distribution alongside the Firstgas network of gas distribution, transmission and storage.

Daniel Timms, Igneo’s head of asset management, Australia and New Zealand, said Igneo and Firstgas were committed to ensuring the long-term resilience and security of supply of electricity to more than 26,000 homes and businesses across 12,000sqkm of the East Coast.

Timms said Igneo was expected to further invest in the network as electrification increased energy demand over coming years.

Paul Goodeve, CEO of Firstgas, said: “Firstgas Group’s expertise is in the management and operation of regulated utilities. Our expertise in disciplines that include project management, regulation and asset management is as applicable to electricity networks as to gas pipelines.”

The chair of Eastland Group, Matanuku Mahuika, said the sale would release significant capital for Eastland Group’s strong pipeline of projects, including local and national renewable energy opportunities, and for a special distribution to Trust Tairāwhiti, the Gisborne economic development agency.

The chair of Trust Tairāwhiti, John Clarke, said: “From the outset, we said that we would only sell to the right buyer on the right terms to deliver for Tairāwhiti. After careful consideration, Trustees are confident we have selected a high-quality buyer with an excellent track record that meets all our criteria.”

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