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Australian investors make bid for Ausgrid

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016

Two of Australia's biggest infrastructure investors have made an unsolicited bid for the partial long-term lease of the NSW's biggest electricity network, Ausgrid.

An experienced cross-agency panel will assess the proposal from the AustralianSuper and IFM Investors consortium, the Baird government announced on Friday.

"The government can receive unsolicited proposals at any time and has a thorough process in place to assess such proposals," Premier Mike Baird said.

It comes after Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison last month rejected the Baird government's preferred bidders - Chinese government-owned State Grid Corp and Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure - from buying the network due to "national security concerns".

The decision was seen as a major setback for the Baird government, who are hoping to reap more than $10 billion for the asset to help raise funds for infrastructure projects.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian says that while the government will give the new unsolicited bid its full consideration, preparations to re-launch the Ausgrid transaction are continuing.

"This unsolicited proposal is another indication of the strong market interest for Ausgrid," she said.

A final decision on the proposal is expected to be made later this year.

Only a few state-government contracts have been awarded through the unsolicited proposal process in NSW, with the most controversial one so far in 2013, when the Crown was awarded its license to operate a hotel and casino at Sydney's Barangaroo.

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