Takeovers panel approves Origin exemptions

The New Zealand Takeovers Panel has approved several exemptions for Origin Energy’s intended acquisition of a controlling interest in Contact Energy.

NZTP told the New Zealand Stock Exchange this morning that the exemptions had been approved subject to a number of conditions, including a requirement that Origin make a related takeover offer to all 105,000 Contact minority shareholders.

Last week EnergyReview.Net reported that Origin had won the battle for a controlling stake in Contact, agreeing to pay almost NZ$1.675 billion for Californian Edison Mission Energy’s 51.2% shareholding in the kiwi company.

Today NZTP said its principal exemption would enable Origin to acquire EME’s controlling interest at an upstream, or holding company level, rather than at the direct Contact Energy shareholder level. EME’s NZ holding company is Edison Mission Universal Holdings.

Conditions of that exemption include certification by an approved independent adviser and appropriate certification of equivalence by the directors of Origin and EME.

Another exemption enables Origin to become the controller of 100% of the voting rights in EME’s Contact Finance company at the same time that it obtains EME's controlling interest in Contact Energy.