Trust Tairawhiti puts a power line company up for sale

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The East Coast-Tairawhiti Region Regional Development Trust has put its power line company up for sale.

Photo: RNZ / Russel Palmer

The Eastland Group, owned by Trust Tairawhiti community trust, is seeking a buyer from Eastland Network, which operates the power grid for Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast, to unlock funds for new investment in the region.

The group’s chairman, Matanuku Mahuika, said after a review of its overall financial situation that a sale was the best option to generate funds so that it could focus on more renewable energy projects and expand the port of Gisborne, which he also owns.

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“A range of options were considered and the sale of the lines business, Eastland Network, was identified as the best option to underpin the future success of the business, the Trust and Tairāwhiti.”

The line company has nearly 26,000 connections, revenue of $28.4 million for the fiscal year ending March 2021 and a book value of $154 million.

“By disposing of this asset now, we can invest more to help build the energy capacity and resilience needed to power a sustainable future for the region,” Mahuika said.

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As well as the line company and the port, the Eastland Group also owns several geothermal and hydroelectric power stations, and Gisborne Airport, where work will soon start on a solar power farm.

Mahuika said there are legal protections to ensure security of supply and price.

Local investment bank Forsyth Barr will lead the sale.

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