BlackRock teams up for Alinta Pilbara bid

Breaking News 12 May

BlackRock teams up for Alinta Pilbara bid

BlackRock has teamed up with oil major BP to bid for an 80% stake in Alinta Energy's Pilbara power generation and distribution assets, four sources familiar said.

Macquarie is advising the group.

BP was previously reported to be bidding through its 40%-owned renewables and green hydrogen project, the 26 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which will be located in the Pilbara, but the sources said this is not the case.

The BlackRock group will be up against infra fund-owned Zenith Energy, which has appointed Lazard and Azure Capital as financial advisers for its bid, as well as ASX-listed pipeline operator APA Group, which has hired Morgan Stanley and Barrenjoey Capital to advise.

Zenith Energy is a remote power builder, owner and operator, so far primarily serving mining companies in Western Australia. It was acquired in 2020 by Pacific Equity Partners' Secure Assets Fund, Canada's OPTrust and Infrastructure Capital Group, which is now owned by London-listed Foresight Group.

Indicative bids are due on 19 May.

Sources have previously put the deal value at between AUD 1bn and AUD 2bn (USD 678m-1.3bn), with two sources on the buy side putting it at the low end of that range at about AUD 1bn-AUD 1.25bn.

Other fund managers and utilities that were considering bidding included EQT, TransAlta and I Squared, as previously reported.

The assets include the gas and distillate-fired 178 MW Newman and 210 MW Port Hedland power stations, as well as the 60 MW Chichester solar farm, completed in December 2021. The latter also has a 60km transmission line linking Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations in the Pilbara with the existing high voltage transmission network, Alinta’s Newman power plant and a 35 MW battery.

The portfolio to be sold also comprises of more than 200km of transmission lines, with another 300km planned, an 11.83% stake in the Goldfields Gas Transmission Pipeline and a renewables development pipeline of around 900 MW, including 810 MW of potential wind farm sites, according to a teaser distributed in February by Alinta adviser Goldman Sachs.

On 2 May, Chow Tai Fook-owned Alinta announced that UGL, the Shanghai Electric Power Design Institute Co and Monford Group had been hired to build its Port Hedland Solar Battery Hybrid project, including a 35 MW battery and 45 MW ac fixed-tilt solar array, that will supply power to BHP’s iron ore port facilities in Port Hedland. The hybrid project is due to be operating by late 2024.

A spokesperson at BP declined to comment. Spokespeople and officials at BlackRock and Macquarie did not respond to requests for comment.

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