27 May 2002 – A report by the Reuters news agency reports a source as saying that Belgian utility Tractebel and US energy group Duke Energy are both interested in bidding for a 50 per cent share in the Loy Yang power plant in the state of Victoria, Australia.

The stake is being sold by CMS Energy and has been on the market for more than a year. The source told Reuters that “a transaction now looks a lot more certain to occur by the third quarter this year”.

“The process has hotted up again in the past couple of months and there are a couple of potential buyers who are going through the processes at the moment.” he said.

Duke Energy and Tractebel were described as being “more than interested” in making a bid for Loy Yang, which was sold by the Victorian State government in 1997 for A$4.7bn (2.6bn).

“There’s a possibility that their interest is beyond just CMS Energy’s share in Loy Yang,” he said.

Discussions are being held between CMS Energy and NRG Energy Inc , which has a 25 per cent share in Loy Yang Power, and the source said it was likely they would join forces to off-load the asset.

NRG Energy was originally rumoured to be a potential buyer of CMS Energy’s stake in Loy Yang, however the company announced in April that it had appointed advisers to A$2bn sale of its Asian-Pacific power assets.

The remaining 25 percent of Loy Yang is held by Horizon Energy Investment Group. A spokesman for the company did not rule out the possibility of its share being added to the sale but said it would depend on the price offered.

Tractebel already operates, manages or has shares in power related projects in North and South America, Asia and the Middle East totalling 17 000 MW. It also operates gas transportation networks on three continents.

Duke Energy owns and operates the Queensland gas pipeline and the Longford to Sydney pipeline, while its power operations include Newman and Port Headland power stations in Western Australia.

Tractebel was unavailable for comment on Monday. Duke Energy said it did not comment on “market speculation”.