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Thai Ratchaburi withdraws from Macquarie Generation bid

Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 | 8:00 PM ET

BANGKOK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Thailand's Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Pcl has pulled out from a bid for Australia's Macquarie Generation, New South Wales' biggest energy generator, after failing to reach a deal with a potential partner, its chief executive said.

"Our board allowed us to invest at not more than 30 percent. This project is quite big and we can't do it alone," Chief Executive Pongdith Potchana told reporters on Saturday.

"We can't conclude a deal with a partner. So we decided not to submit a non-binding bid on Oct. 23."

The sale by the New South Wales government of Macquarie Generation, which has a net book value of some A$2 billion ($1.93 billion) and accounts for around a quarter of the state's generation capacity, is part of a privatisation programme to raise funds for infrastructure development.

Ratchaburi is still in talks with three groups of investors which submitted bids for Macquarie Generation, Pongdith said, adding his firm wanted to be a partner with the winner.

First-round bidders included Shenhua Group Corp, Brisbane-based ERM Power Ltd and Australian utility AGL Energy, people familiar with the process said

Ratchaburi entered the Australian market in 2011 by acquiring a majority stake in Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund, later renamed RATCH-Australia.

In October, Ratchaburi said it planned to invest 6.9 billion baht ($222 million) in two solar farms in Australia with combined capacity of 53 megawatts. 1/8ID:nL3N0IE25O

Ratchaburi, 45 percent owned by state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, has said it aims to spend 10 billion baht ($334 million) on expansion in Thailand, Laos and Australia in 2013 in order to boost generating capacity to 7,800 MW by 2018 from 6,300 now. ($1 = 31.10 Baht)

(Reporting by Pisit Changplayngam; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Sophie Walker)