NGC spokesman Keith FitzPatrick said the appointment by independent directors Richard Bentley (chairman), Rick Bettle and Fran Wilde was in anticipation that NGC would soon receive an official takeover notice from Auckland-headquartered Vector.
Vector announced earlier this month that it was buying Australian Gas Light Company’s 66.05% shareholding in NGC for NZ$3.00 per share, less any dividend paid by prior to completion.
Industry commentators are still not sure whether Vector’s bid will be enough to secure a total takeover deal of NGC, or even if Vector wants all of NGC, given NGC’s current share price (NZ$3.11) and Vector chairman Michael Stiassny’s comments that it’s good to get one over the Aussies and bring another valuable infrastructure asset back under majority New Zealand ownership.
It is the third time in almost as many months that Grant Samuel has been engaged to evaluate a takeover bid of a kiwi energy company. It last month advised Contact Energy minority shareholders not to accept the NZ$5.57 a share offer from Origin Energy. Earlier this month it recommended Powerco minority shareholders accept Prime Infrastructure’s NZ$2.15 a share offer, with the proviso that shareholders register offshore.