John Laing Group plc (LON:JLG), the responsible investor and active manager of infrastructure projects internationally, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its portfolio of Australian wind farm assets to First Sentier Investors for a total consideration of AUD285 million (before disposal costs), equivalent to approximately £157 million.
This sale value represents a small uplift to John Laing’s book value for the portfolio as at 30 June 2020, and is equivalent to a money multiple on its investment of 1.5x. Completion of the sales of the assets is subject to customary consents, regulatory approvals and notification periods, and these are expected to be satisfied by early 2021.
The portfolio consists of the Group’s interests in six wind assets in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, with a total capacity of 514MW, in which John Laing has an aggregate economic interest of 209MW.
Since acquiring interests in these assets during 2015-2018, John Laing has de-risked the portfolio, achieved key project delivery milestones and has been actively involved in putting in place off-take and new financing arrangements.
As at 30 June 2020, John Laing’s total Renewable Energy portfolio value was £417 million. This divestment therefore represents material progress with our strategy to realise fully our Renewable Energy assets over the next 2 years.
Under the Group’s dividend policy, shareholders will share in the success of this realisation, whereby the Group will pay approximately 5-10% of gross proceeds received from the sale of investments on an annual basis.
The Group will publish a trading update on or around 28 October 2020.
Ben Loomes, Chief Executive of John Laing Group, said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement to sell our portfolio of wind assets in Australia to FSI. These assets play a strong role in supporting the country’s energy transition.
This sale is in line with our commitment to realise assets to maximise value for shareholders, and marks an important milestone in our strategy to realise fully our Renewable Energy portfolio over the next 2 years.”
Danny Latham, Partner FSI’s Unlisted Infrastructure business, said: “This is an important milestone for First Sentier Investors’ Global Diversified Infrastructure Fund as our first investment into the rapidly growing Australian renewables sector whilst also supporting our sustainability objectives. The de-risked operational portfolio of diverse assets provide the fund with a platform for growth in the sector and support of Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy.”