SHELL and its partners in New Zealand have sold the Maui natural gas pipeline (MGP) to two Australia-based infrastructure funds for NZ$335 million.

Carrying gas from a production station south of New Plymouth to the Huntly power station in the North Island, the 307 kilometre Maui pipeline received gas from 12 shippers at six production stations.

The Global Diversified Infrastructure Fund (GDIF) and the Colonial First State Active Infrastructure Income Fund (AIIF) are both owned by Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM), a subsidiary of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank.

CFSGAM director of infrastructure investments Gavin Kerr said the acquisition was a good fit with his company’s proposed acquisition of the Vector gas transmission network and distribution assets in New Zealand.

“We anticipate benefits to come from operating the two gas transmission systems in New Zealand under common ownership,” he said.

“Subject to regulatory approvals, we anticipate completing both acquisitions in the first half of 2016.”

CFSGAM infrastructure investments partner Danny Latham said he was pleased to be making another acquisition in the sector, saying there was strong global institutional interest in gas utility networks of this quality.

Acquisition of both assets will be conditional on government approval under the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act.

“We expect MGP will be both yield and value accretive to [Vector]. This investment is another positive step for the GDIF portfolio and a further GDIF close is planned in early 2016.”

Financial close of the MGP and VGL acquisitions are expected during the first half of 2016, and are conditional on approval under the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act.

Shell is currently the majority owner of pipeline holding company Maui Mining, with an 83.75 per cent stake, while 10% is held by OMV NZ and 6.25% by Todd Energy.