(Repeats to additional subscribers with no changes to text)
* Price a premium to Endeavour's total regulated asset base
* Macquarie beats rival group led by Hastings Funds
* Macquarie-backed group purchased a 50.4 percent stake
* Consortium to refinance all of company's debt
SYDNEY, May 11 The Australian state of New South
Wales on Thursday said it has sold power grid Endeavour Energy
to a consortium led by Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia's
biggest investment bank, for A$7.62 billion ($5.61 billion).
The price was a premium to Endeavour's total regulated asset
base of A$6.2 billion.
The Macquarie-backed consortium purchased a 50.4 percent
stake but was also responsible for refinancing all of the
company's debt, said a source involved in the transaction who
was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.
Australian governments are selling assets to fund roads and
public transport as the population grows, especially around the
country's biggest city and NSW capital of Sydney.
Macquarie's partners include Canada's British Columbia
Investment Management, Australia's AMP Capital and
Qatar Investment Authority. The Macquarie-led group beat a rival
consortium led by Hastings Funds Management.
It is the last of three power grid sales by NSW state,
following the A$16.2 billion sale of Ausgrid in October to a
consortium of Australian pension funds, and that of TransGrid to
an international consortium of funds for A$10.26 billion in
The Australian government in December advised potential
bidders that no single foreign investor could own more than half
of the stake in Endeavour being sold, while a domestic investor
must hold at least 20 percent.
The privatisation drive comes at a time when foreign
investment in sensitive assets like power grids and ports is
facing increased scrutiny on national security grounds.
($1 = 1.3617 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jamie Freed and Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen