Final bids are due for Australian hydro generator Southern Energy in mid March and local reports say seven companies have expressed interest in acquiring the company.

The potential buyers are said to be The Australian Gas Light Company, Hong Kong generator CLP Power, New Zealand’s Contact Energy and state-owned Meridian Energy, Australia’s government-owned Snowy Hydro and Origin Energy, and British generator International Power.

Southern Hydro is being sold by Alliant Energy (Australia), a unit of US power giant Alliant Energy Corp, and has been valued by industry sources at up to US$450M. The company has 10 power stations in the state of Victoria totalling 500MW. That is just 6% of the state’s generating capacity but hydro’s flexibility is attractive in the market, where limited reserve capacity has sent peak prices soaring.