New joint venture in Canada: GDF SUEZ pursues its asset optimization program
GDF SUEZ today announces that it has agreed the sale of a 60% equity interest in its 680MW Canadian renewable generation portfolio, with an enterprise value in excess of CAD 2 billion (€1.5 billion), to Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and a consortium led by Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc. who each hold a 30% interest in the new joint venture.
GDF SUEZ will remain the principal shareholder, retaining a 40% interest, and will continue to operate and maintain these assets. The 680MW portfolio comprises 363MW of operating wind facilities, and a further 317MW of wind and solar capacity that is expected to start commercial operation between 2013 and 2014. All projects are backed by Power Purchase Agreements with provincial utilities. The facilities are located in Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.
As part of the transaction, a total of CAD 1.1 billion (€0.8 billion) of project finance has been successfully raised from Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company.
This sale and the successful project financings demonstrate the high quality of the portfolio, and is testament to the long-standing support of key partners and lenders.
In addition to its participation in this joint venture, GDF SUEZ will continue to develop its own pipeline of new renewable projects in Canada.
Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO of GDF SUEZ commented: “This is an important new joint venture in which GDF SUEZ will have a significant shareholding, reflecting the continued importance of the Canadian renewable market to the Group. This transaction represents an excellent example of monetizing value created through our investments, alongside retaining the upside from future renewable developments and from our operations and maintenance experience.”
This transaction reduces Group net debt by approximately CAD 1.3 billion (€1 billion). GDF SUEZ has now achieved €3.9 billion out of the €5 billion expected in 2012 for its asset optimization program.
GDF SUEZ Energy North America manages a range of energy businesses in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, including electricity generation and cogeneration, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution and sales, asset-based trading and origination, and retail energy sales and related services to commercial and industrial customers. The company owns and/or operates cogeneration, steam, and chilled water facilities, including those in construction, representing a capacity of more than 13,000 MW of electricity generation, 6.0 million pounds per hour of steam, and 38,000 tons per hour of chilled water. Renewable fuels—wind, hydro, and biomass—power 27 of the facilities in the portfolio. The company’s natural gas assets include an LNG receiving terminal just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and natural gas distribution networks and pipelines in Mexico that serve nearly 400,000 customers
GDF SUEZ develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, combating climate change and optimizing the use of resources. The Group provides highly efficient and innovative solutions to individuals, cities and businesses by relying on diversified gas-supply sources, flexible and low-emission power generation as well as unique expertise in four key sectors: liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency services, independent power production and environmental services. GDF SUEZ employs 218,900 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €90.7 billion in 2011. The Group is listed on the Brussels and Paris stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Stoxx 50, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe, ASPI Eurozone and ECPI Ethical Index EMU.