Global electricity and natural gas provider Engie has fired the starting gun on the sale of its Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia

By BRIDGET CARTER, DATAROOM EDITOR, The Australian

Global electricity and natural gas provider Engie has fired the starting gun on the sale of its Willogoleche Wind Farm in South Australia, with teaser documents being sent out to prospective suitors who will submit first-round bids next year.

DataRoom can reveal that Azure Capital is working on the sales process, which is likely to net Engie about $500m, with French bank Natixis. The bank is has a 52 per cent holding in Azure Capital.

It is understood indicative bids are due around March.

Parties expected to line up for the asset are groups such as AMP Capital, Jemena, First Sentier Investors, Palisade Investment Partners, APA Group, China Resources, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, First State, UniSuper and Australian Super.

The sales process will coincide with a move by Azure Capital to open a Sydney office for its boutique investment bank headed by Harrison Moore. 

It will focus on deals in the infrastructure and private equity space. West Australian-based Azure Capital has traditionally targeted energy and resources transactions.

On offer is a stake in International Power (Australia) Holdings, which is a joint venture made up of 72 per cent shareholder Engie and Mitsui, the owner of the rest.

IPAH owns Willogoleche Wind Farm, but the opportunity for a buyer is not only to buy into that asset but also to invest in future projects, buying between 50 per cent and 80 per cent of the platform.

The Willogoleche wind farm, 5km from the town of Hallett, was a $250m project for Engie.

It has 32 turbines with a combined generation capacity of 119 megawatts, enough to power 80,000 houses.

The plan for IPAH is to establish a new investment platform for the development of 1000MW of Australian renewable energy assets, with an investor to partner on projects over the long term.

Australian renewable energy projects are expected to be transferred to the platform over time, before their funding and construction.

The Engie and Mitsui pipeline of assets will generate 900MW.

Potential exists for IPAH to provide power through its wholly owned retailer Simply Energy and by leveraging the customer base of Engie and Mitsui.

IPAH has strong in-house solar engineering, procurement and construction as well as operations and maintenance capabilities, with the ability to leverage global relationships with major original equipment manufacturers and service providers in the power sector.

The France-based Engie sold its Loy Yang B power station to Chow Tai Fook about three years ago for $1.2bn. It is one-third owned by the French state.

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