Energy company Mercury NZ is shedding its Metrix smart-metering business in a $270 million sale to Australia's intelliHub Group.
Mercury chief executive Fraser Whineray said the sale releases capital and resources, simplifies the company and provides a "tremendous opportunity for Metrix employees".
Metrix is one of the country’s leading smart metering solution providers, managing over 460,000 household and commercial meters.
These features made it attractive to a focused owner looking to advance the role of smart metering technologies in New Zealand and Australia even further, Whineray said.
Mercury’s retail business will continue to be a partner of Metrix under its new ownership.
"The sale price achieved is recognition of the expertise, scale and opportunity Metrix represents," Whineray said. "While Mercury had its own strategy for Metrix, negotiations with intelliHub Group have presented an opportunity that is timely for both parties.
"IntelliHub is a natural owner for the business given its experience and growth in Australia, and its expansion into New Zealand, partnering with Trustpower to roll-out smart meters across its customer base."
IntelliHub CEO, Adrian Clark, said Metrix’s large installed meter base, customer relationships and innovation platform, make this a natural acquisition.
"It is also clearly aligned to our strategy of focusing on growth and innovation in smart metering services,” Clark said.
The transaction is expected to settle on 1 March 2019, with an annual reduction to EBITDAF from the sale forecast to be $28 million.
Mercury has been on a drive to get its business digitally ready in 2018, including upgrades at Metrix and to Mercury's own core SAP and other systems.
Metrix’s chief executive Matt Olde will remain as a Mercury executive with an initial focus of ensuring a successful Metrix transition to its new owner while the other 90-odd employees will shift as part of the sale.
IntelliHUB provides smart metering services in the New Zealand and Australian markets by engaging with energy retailers to provide all aspects of their energy control and management end customers.