Spark $5.2bn takeover secures foreign investment approval


Spark Infrastructure has announced that the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) has approved the $5.2 billion takeover of the power grid operator by a consortium led by United States-based global investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP).

The consortium, jointly owned by entities linked to KKR, OTPP and Canada’s PSP Investments, will take control of the network operator on December 22 if the New South Wales Supreme Court approves the scheme in the mandatory second hearing required for the takeover deal.

The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (26 November) and already the process to delist Spark Infrastructure from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has begun with the S&P Dow Jones Indices announcing on Wednesday that subject to final court approval of the buyout, it will remove the company from the S&P/ASX 200 effective prior to the open of trading on 30 November.

“With receipt of Foreign Investment Review Board approval, all regulatory approvals required for the acquisition have been obtained,” Spark Infrastructure said in a statement.

“It is expected that Spark Infrastructure securities will be suspended from trading on the ASX from close of trading on 29 November 2021 and the cchemes will then be implemented on 22 December 2021.”

Spark shareholders earlier this week approved the $5.2 billion takeover, with 99.51% of security holders voting in favour of the creditor scheme resolution.

Spark owns a 49% stake in the Victorian distribution operators Powercor and CitiPower, which distribute electricity to more than 1 million customers in Victoria, 49% of South Australia’s distribution network operator SA Power Networks, which is the sole operator of South Australia’s electricity distribution network, and a 15% stake in transmission network operator Transgrid in New South Wales.

Until recently, Spark was exclusively an investor in regulated network infrastructure but it has begun developing a portfolio of wind, solar and storage assets, targeting more than $1 billion of investment in renewable energy generation by 2025.

In July, it announced plans to develop a 2.5 GW hybrid wind, solar PV and battery storage project in New South Wales while the 100 MW Bomen Solar Farm came online last year.

The consortium will own Spark via a peak company PIKA Bidco.

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