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Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ wire agency

Infratil giant came from small beginnings

Infratil is rebranding Shell's retail outlets as Z Energy gas stations. Photo / Dean Purcell
Infratil is rebranding Shell's retail outlets as Z Energy gas stations. Photo / Dean Purcell

Infratil, founded by Lloyd Morrison, started off small but became a top 50 New Zealand-listed company, with interests ranging from windfarms in the Tararuas to airports in Europe.

Infratil's life as a listed entity started in 1994 with the public issue of 50 million shares at $1 each.

The infrastructure investment specialist quickly made its name as a strong performer, and today the company is now a constituent of the main sharemarket index, the NZX-50, with a market capitalisation of $1.1 billion.

At the time of listing, companies that specialised in taking long-term holdings in utilities were rare.

The company has extensive interests in energy with major holdings in companies like TrustPower, which is responsible for about 7 per cent of New Zealand's hydro and wind generation and 5 per cent of the nation's energy output. In Australia, Infratil Energy Australia (IEA) provides all the energy wholesale procurement and risk management requirements of Infratil's energy retailing subsidiary, Lumo Energy.

IEA owns three peaking power stations totalling 100 megawatt capacity, two in South Australia and one in NSW, and is building another station in South Australia.

Most of the company's energy operations are in New Zealand and Australia, but it has also extensive transport assets here and in Europe.

The company owns Wellington Airport in New Zealand and has airports in Glasgow and Kent. Infratil's public transport services are in Auckland and Wellington.

Its first investment was a minority stake in TrustPower. It expanded into airport ownership in 1998 when it bought a 66 per cent holding in Wellington Airport.

In November 2005, Infratil purchased bus and ferry business Stagecoach NZ for $250.5 million and in 2006 it bought Wellington bus company Mana Coach Services.

Infratil's NZ Bus is now New Zealand's largest public transport operator with bus services in the Auckland and Wellington regions.

In 2007 the company was named Deloitte/Management Magazine Company of the Year.

In March 2010 Infratil joined with the NZ Superannuation Fund to acquire Shell's retail outlets - which it has rebranded as Z - and its interest in NZ Refining.

- APNZ

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