Vector Gas Limited has been renamed First Gas Limited today, following the successful completion of the $952.5 million purchase of the business by First State Funds from Vector Limited.

First State Funds comprises two infrastructure funds managed by First State Investments. First State Investments (known in Australia as Colonial First State Global Asset Management) is a leading global infrastructure asset manager, with approximately $7 billion of equity invested in infrastructure assets across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

First Gas will continue to operate more than 2,200kms of high pressure gas transmission pipelines and stations that supply natural gas from Taranaki to industrial consumers throughout the North Island.

First Gas will also operate gas distribution networks across the North Island. These gas distribution networks comprises more than 4,800kms of pipes in Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, Taupo, Whakatane, Gisborne, Tauranga, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Hastings and the Kapiti Coast. Through these distribution networks, First Gas provides gas distribution services to gas retailers who sell gas to more than 60,000 customers.

First Gas acknowledges the tremendous effort from its staff, Vector and First State Investments over the past few months in reaching a successful sale completion. First Gas does not anticipate any impact on its operation as a result of the ownership change. It will work closely with its suppliers and customers to ensure a smooth transition. Under the Transitional Services Agreement, Vector Limited has agreed to provide certain transitional services to First Gas for up to nine months.

Richard Krogh has been appointed as Interim Chief Executive to lead the business over the next few months. Richard was previously Chief Executive of Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas lines business, and held other executive positions in energy companies.

With the majority of Vector Gas staff transferring to First Gas, the company is retaining an experienced team in charge of a vital energy infrastructure for New Zealand, says Mr. Krogh.

 

“The new company will continue to focus on operational excellence, a high safety and service level, and building on our customer relationships,” says Mr. Krogh.

First Gas represents the first major infrastructure asset acquisition in New Zealand by First State Investments. First State Investment has also agreed to acquire the Maui Gas Pipeline. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals including under the Overseas Investment Act and is targeted to complete in the first half of 2016. It is intended that Maui Gas Pipeline will be combined into the First Gas business following completion.

Background Information

About First State Funds

First State Funds comprises the Global Diversified Infrastructure Fund and Colonial First State Active Infrastructure Income Fund. First State Investments is a leading global infrastructure asset manager, with approximately $7 billion of equity invested in infrastructure assets across Australia, New Zealand and Europe over a 20 year period. First State Investments has made 16 utility investments over that time; with existing investments including Ferngas (German gas network), EVG (German gas network), Reganosa (Spanish gas storage), ANZ Terminals (Australian and New Zealand bulk liquid storage network), Electricity North West (UK electricity distribution network), Caruna (Finnish electricity network) and Anglian Water Group (UK water utility).

Media Enquiries

First Gas Limited

Interim Chief Executive – Richard Krogh – ph 029 442 7181

Communications Manager – Bruce Gatward-Cook – ph 0274 99 00 24