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Alinta Extends Trading Halt, Bid Talks Continue

Australian energy infrastructure group Alinta, extended its share trading halt on Wednesday and said it was still in talks with potential bidders.

Alinta put itself up for sale after receiving a management buyout proposal in January, and has had offers from investment firms Macquarie Bank and Babcock & Brown.

It said trading of its shares will remain suspended until an announcement on the outcome of the discussions is made. It had sought a two-day trading halt on Monday.

The company, which is also considering plans for an internal restructure, has said that there was no certainty it would recommend either bid.

Babcock, in partnership with Singapore Power, has made an all-cash offer for Alinta, while Macquarie has offered a mix of cash and shares, sources have said.

Local newspapers said Macquarie, which has offered about A$15 ($12.10) a share, has proposed selling off part of Alinta and bundling its operations, maintenance and remaining infrastructure assets into a new listed entity.

Shares in Alinta, which have jumped more than 26% since the gas and power utility received a management buyout proposal on Jan. 9, closed at A$14.15 on Friday.

Alinta, with a market capitalization of about A$7 billion, has a stable of gas transmission pipelines and a lucrative asset management division, which operates and maintains the distribution and transmission assets.

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