July 19 2002 – Melbourne power retailer CitiPower had attracted four bidders by the deadlines for offers Thursday.

Investment bank ABN Amro is understood to have received bids from Singapore Power, a consortium comprising Texan-backed TXU Australia, Macquarie Bank Ltd and Britain’s Abbey National.

A second consortium comprised of Melbourne-based electricity distributor United Energy and AMP Ltd has lodged an offer. It is also understood Origin Energy Ltd and Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd
are interested in the utility.

The TXU-led consortium is considered to be one of the most aggressive bidders as CitiPower offers significant synergies for the integrated supplier. TXU operates a retail power network adjacent to Citipower’s central Melbourne territory.

“We’ve received a number of bids and we’re just going through it now,” said a source close to the sale. In February, CitiPower’s owner the Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power (AEP) appointed investment bank ABN Amro Australia to advise it on options for a possible sale of its Melbourne CBD power business.

AEP acquired CitiPower in December 1998 from Entergy, another US electric utility, for $A1.7 billion ($939.16 million), and was expected to take a loss on the investment if it decided to move ahead with a sale. A decision on the sale could be made as early as next week, one source said.