MIDDAY UPDATE: Meridian mulls exiting stake in Oz wind farm

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 8 (BusinessDesk) - State-owned power company Meridian Energy is looking at selling its half-share in a A$1 billion wind farm across the Tasman.

Chief executive Mark Binns told BusinessDesk the SOE is in talks to consider exiting its stake in the Macarthur wind farm in Victoria, though no deal is imminent. Meridian stands to reap a "bond-like" return from the 25-year lifetime of the energy project, and is mulling cashing up now while interest rates are low.

Binns said there wasn't a connection with the potential exit and the government's partial privatisation plan which includes Meridian, and wouldn't comment on whether cash from a sale would be paid out as a capital return to the Crown.

Qantas ring-fences $10.3M in tax dispute

Qantas Airways has ring-fenced $10.3 million in tax assets to cover any potential fine it faces in a dispute with the Inland Revenue Department.

The airline's local subsidiary, Jetconnect, has elected to use tax losses from the wider Qantas group to cover any shortfall penalties imposed by the tax department, it said in financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.

New Zealand's tax department is seeking to deny interest deductions claimed on the notes which were used to fund Qantas's former interest in rival carrier Air New Zealand.

The IRD contends the hybrid securities, which let companies juggle equity and debt to provide a tax advantage, were structured purely to minimise tax.

Brookfield Multiplex leaves NZ after lack of work

Property developer Brookfield Multiplex has wound up its New Zealand unit after a lack of new projects in a tough market left it no other options.

The company appointed liquidators last month, having largely ceased operations in 2011 when it laid off most of its workers, according to liquidators Anthony McCullagh and Stephen Lawrence of PKF Corporate Recovery & Insolvency (Auckland). They are in the process of wrapping up the company's affairs, and expect there to be a $2.4 million shortfall to unsecured creditors.

The liquidators’ report says the company faces as-yet unquantified claims on construction contracts including Spencer on Byron, Nautilus Apartments, Century on Anzac, Victoria Apartments and Sylvia Park.

(BusinessDesk)

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