AGL decision deferred

THE competition watchdog has again deferred a decision on AGL’s planned buyout of the Loy Yang A power station and mine, setting a new deadline for late May.

Last week the Australian Competition Consumer Commission extended the timeline for a decision from 17 May to a proposed date of 24 May. It was the ACCC’s second extension to the deadline which was initially set for 19 April.

The ACCC said the amended date would “allow merger parties to provide further information”. The “clearance process” sought by AGL has been suspended previously for the same reason. AGL has proposed acquisition of the Greater Energy Alliance Corporation Pty Ltd (owners of Loy Yang A), hoping to increase its existing 32.54 per cent share in the corporation to 100 per cent.

AGL’s purchase of GEAC requires ACCC approval and the removal of Federal Court undertakings limiting its ownership of the corporation to a maximum of 35 per cent.

Last week about 50 AGL analysts, advisers and investors visited LYP for a presentation on the generator’s operations.

They heard Loy Yang A expected about $1.3 billion over five years in transitional assistance from the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future program, including $240 million in cash in June this year.

LYP managers also advised the AGL delegation that its positions in the National Electricity Market was expected to “remain highly competitive under a carbon scenario”.

Information provided at the presentation on GEAC’s financial performance, however, revealed GEAC lost $31.9 million in 2011, reversing a profit of $40 million earned in 2010.