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Ayala unit takes 19.9% stake in Australian energy firm

Ayala-controlled UAC Energy Holdings Pty Ltd. settled for a 19.9-percent interest in Australian renewables firm Infigen Energy Ltd. as it bowed out of a takeover bidding war against a unit of Spanish power giant Iberdrola SA.Listed at the Australian Securities Exchange, Infigen owns and operates a 670-megawatt portfolio of wind farms all over Australia aside from gas, battery and contracted assets.

UAC, owned by Ayala’s AC Energy Corp. and the UPC Renewables group, raised its stake in Infigen to one-fifth of the company’s securities by purchasing up to the maximum they are allowed under Australian regulations.

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This means UAC has invested in Infigen a total of 178 million Australian dollars ($128 million) based on Iberdrola’s offer price of 92 cents a share.

That value represents a markup of about 14 percent on the average 79.3 cents that UAC shelled out for Infigen securities through purchases made in the past three months.

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And while losing in the bidding, UAC chair Anton Rohner said they achieved their goal, which was to “secur[e] a material stake in Infigen.”

“[Our takeover] offer was not predicated on control and was therefore not subject to a minimum acceptance condition,” Rohner said. “We are pleased to have met our objective and look forward to supporting Infigen’s future growth.”

AC Energy chief executive John Eric Francia said their Infigen campaign was part of moves to continually make significant investments in the renewable energy sector in the Asia-Pacific.

Francia said AC Energy had racked up a portfolio of 700 megawatts of new projects over the past six months, referring to ventures across the Philippines, Vietnam, India and Australia.

UAC’s takeover offer for Infigen closed on July 24 and left Iberdrola as the only remaining bidder for the balance of Infigen securities.

UAC first made an offer at 80 cents, but Iberdrola countered with 86 cents. UAC matched that, but Iberdrola raised it to 89 cents and again to 92 cents. For most of that time, Infigen’s board had advised security holders to accept Iberdrola’s offer.

“Our initial investment decision was based on the attractiveness of the Australian market and the strength of Infigen’s portfolio and management,” UAC director Jose Maria Zabaleta said. “With Iberdrola expected to become Infigen’s largest security holder, we believe the outlook for our investment has further strengthened.”

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TAGS: Infigen Energy Ltd., UAC Energy Holdings Pty Ltd.
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