Administrators move swiftly to settle future of Sun Cable


The future of Sun Cable’s proposed $30 billion-plus (USD 20.7 billion) Australia-Asia PowerLink project planned for the Northern Territory could be decided in less than three months with the administrators revealing they hope to have the company sold or recapitalised by the end of April.

The first creditors’ meeting was held on Friday after Sun Cable, which is largely owned by mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s private firm Squadron Energy and technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes’ private investment company Grok, entered voluntary administration on January 11 citing an “absence of alignment” among shareholders.

The administrators said on Friday Sun Cable will be put up for sale before the end of January amid a “strong level of interest” in the company and its Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) venture. The administrators said they plan to appoint an adviser shortly to conduct the sale process which is expected to be finalised by April.

“Indicative timing for the sale process is approximately three months,” FTI Consulting said in a statement released after the meeting of creditors.

Both Forrest and Atlassian co-founder Cannon-Brookes, who on Friday provided $65 million in interim funding through Grok to allow Sun Cable to continue to operate, are expected to submit bids for the company.

Sun Cable’s AAPowerLink project aims to power Darwin and export solar from the NT to Singapore via a 4,200-kilometre submarine transmission link. The proposal includes building up to 20 GW of solar and 42 GWh of energy storage in the Barkley region.

The project is expected to deliver enough renewable electricity to power 3 million homes each year.

Image: Sun Cable

Fortescue Metals Group chair Forrest, who has made no secret of his support for green hydrogen as the fuel of the future, has indicated he intends to bid on the company but has questioned the technical viability of the submarine cable. It is expected that if Squadron Energy gains control of Sun Cable it will scrap the undersea cable plan.

Cannon-Brookes, who is chairman of Sun Cable, is also tipped to bid for the company and has indicated if successful he intends to proceed with the original proposal, saying he fully back the project’s ambition and the team.

John Park, the head of corporate finance and restructuring in Australia for FTI Consulting, said the administrators have worked to preserve the value of Sun Cable and “keep all options for the future of the project on the table.”

“We will seek to crystalise the interest expressed in the future of Sun Cable into a firm offer for the benefit of creditors and other stakeholders via the sale process,” he said in a statement.

“Ultimately, the successful bidder will have the opportunity to take the business forward in line with their vision.”

FTI said it is now seeking proposals from advisors to act on the sale and run the sale process. An appointment is expected shortly.

The sale process is expected to take three months. The second creditors’ meeting would normally be held on or before 14 February, but FTI said it would apply for an extension to carry out the sale process in advance.

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