Infratil and Super Fund target Shell’s NZ assets

Six months after it first stared looking for a buyer for its New Zealand downstream businesses, Shell has now confirmed it is exclusively negotiating a sale with an Infratil and New Zealand Superannuation fund consortium.

Shell first put the assets – which include 17.1% of listed company NZ Refining and more than 200 retail outlets – on the market in May after launching a review of the business earlier in the year.

The sale is expected to net about $1 billion as part of Shell’s global pullback, with the NZ Refining stake alone worth $300 million.

Infratil chief executive Marko Bogoievski said the consortium had submitted a non-binding conditional proposal to the oil company and was now in the final phase of due diligence.

The parties involved are keeping quiet on the details as that process concludes, with discussions and negotiation expected to continue throughout the month.

The negotiations have come at a good time for Infratil, after it announced yesterday it was pocketing $64 million from the sale of its stake in a Northern Germany airport.

The infrastructure investor and the Super Fund are just the latest names to be linked with the sale. In July, oil company Hindustan Petroleum Corp looked to be interested, while global private equity firm TPG threw its name into the hat last month.

Shell is keeping its extensive oil and gas exploration assets in New Zealand and a 36% stake in construction company Fulton and Hogan, but is selling everything else.

As well as the stake in NZ Refining, the assets include:

- Access to refinery and pipeline capacity
- Ownership/access arrangements to joint national distribution network, including 13 nationwide terminals and shipping infrastructure
- 25% ownership of Loyalty New Zealand (Fly Bys)
- Sales and distribution network including without limitation
- 229 retail outlets
- 95 truck stops
- Facilities at Auckland and Christchurch airports

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