London-listed energy company SSE will sell its 33.3% stake in gas distribution operator Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) for £1.22 billion.
The buyer is a consortium comprising existing SGN shareholder Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners.
The deal is expected to complete within the current financial year.
Perth-based SSE initially bought 50% of SGN in 2005 for £505m, before selling 16.7% to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in 2016.
The consortium has also agreed to acquire the 16.7% stake in SGN owned by ADIA.
SGN includes Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks, two of the eight regulated gas distribution networks in England, Wales and Scotland, in addition to SGN Natural Gas, which provides gas to customers in the west of Northern Ireland as well as other non-regulated ancillary businesses.
This deal will conclude SSE’s £2bn plus disposals programme announced in June 2020, with total proceeds amounting to over £2.7bn.
The disposal proceeds will reduce net debt in the short term and will help support the delivery of SSE’s capital investment plans.
In total, Ontario Teachers’ will acquire an additional 12.5% of SGN and Brookfield will acquire a 37.5% stake in SGN.
StepStone Clients are participating in both the Brookfield and Ontario Teachers’ investments.
This means following completion of both transactions, SGN’s direct shareholders will comprise Ontario Teachers’ (37.5%), Brookfield (37.5%) and OMERS Infrastructure (25% unchanged).
The transaction does not require SSE shareholders’ approval.
At March 31 2021, SGN had a regulated asset value (RAV) of £6bn, and SSE’s interest in SGN had a carrying value of £744m and contributed £88.6m to the group’s profits after tax for the year then ended.
SSE finance director Gregor Alexander said: “SGN has been a hugely successful investment for SSE during the past 16 years.
“It is a strong business delivering consistently for customers and will have a key role to play in the future development of the hydrogen economy.
“However, it has become purely a financial investment for SSE as we have sharpened our focus on our low-carbon electricity core, and it is therefore the right time for SGN to continue to thrive under new ownership.
“We see significant growth opportunities in our core networks and renewables businesses in the transition to net zero and the capital we are releasing through our disposals programme will help enable us to maximise the delivery of our low-carbon electricity orientated strategy and ultimately create sustainable long-term value for customers, shareholders and society.
“Completion of our disposals programme will leave SSE more streamlined and strategically aligned than ever before, with a business mix that is very deliberate, highly effective, fully focused and well set to prosper on the journey to net zero and beyond.”