New Plymouth gas company takes over Eastland Network

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Firstgas Group will take over Eastland Network at the end of March.

Stacy Squires/Stuff

Firstgas Group will take over Eastland Network at the end of March.

A Taranaki-based gas company will complete the acquisition of an East Coast electricity lines company later this month.

Firstgas Group, owned by Igneo Infrastructure Partners (Igneo), has now received the seal of approval from the Overseas Investment Office to buy Eastland Network, the electricity lines company for Tairāwhiti and Wairoa, in northern Hawke’s Bay, delivering power to nearly 26,000 customers spread across 12,000 square kilometers.

Chief Executive Paul Goodeve said it would be “business as usual and the community will experience the same great service”.

The transaction would be completed on March 31 and the brand would be renamed, Firstlight Network.

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“When considering a new name, we wanted to reflect what makes both Eastland Network and Firstgas Group unique and special,” he said.

The sale was first announced in November last year, with the sale price being $260 million, above the asset book value of Eastland Network as at 31 March 2022, which was $185m.

Eastland Network had to face some tough times as Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Gisborne region and Wairoa last month, taking down power lines and causing major issues across the East Coast.

Goodeve said Firstgas Group was committed to contributing to the prosperity and wellbeing of the region.

Upon settlement, the proceeds will be split between the Tairawhiti Trust and the Eastland Group. A special distribution of $80m will be provided to the Tairawhiti Trust.

Trust Tairawhiti chair John Clarke said the trust, who owns Eastland Group, was looking forward to the forthcoming opportunities the sale would unlock for the region

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