AGL reportedly seeking $1b for Energy Transition Investment Partnership fund

AGL's Loy Yang Power Station (Latrobe Valley Energy Hub)
AGL's Loy Yang Power Station in the Latrobe Valley

A Bloomberg report says AGL Energy is seeking approximately $1 billion from potential partners for a proposed investment vehicle to help transition its coal-fired power plants to low-carbon sites, according to sources close to the matter.

The energy company has held preliminary talks with prospective investors in its planned Energy Transition Investment Partnership fund, the anonymous sources said.

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The process could tap infrastructure and pension funds, one of the sources said. Deliberations are preliminary and details such as the size of the investment could change.

Responding to a request for comment, an AGL representative pointed to chairman Peter Botten’s February 21 statement that outlined the purpose of the fund, but declined to comment further. Botten said in the statement that the company has received “strong interest” for ETIP in recent months.   

AGL’s shares declined as much as 1.1 per cent in Sydney trading Thursday.

Formed in 1837, AGL is responsible for the largest share of Australia’s scope one greenhouse gas emissions. Just this week, the company rejected a multibillion-dollar take-private offer by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, saying the offer undervalued the firm. The consortium had detailed an A$20 billion transition plan to make AGL a clean energy company by replacing its polluting coal-fired plants with more renewables.

Brookfield and Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures told AGL’s top executives that the company should take their offer because it couldn’t raise all the capital it would need to make the green transition on its own. 

AGL last year told investors it planned to split into two. The existing company will be renamed Accel Energy and house the company’s power plant fleet and a handful of renewables projects. A retail arm serving more than 4 million customers will be spun off as AGL Australia. 

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The company aims to establish the ETIP fund before the expected demerger of Accel by the end of June, and Botten has said that Accel will act as the manager of the investment vehicle. 

AGL’s search for investors for the fund comes amid a flurry of interest in Australian energy assets. Brookfield in November agreed to acquire electricity and gas distributor AusNet Services, while CLP Holdings Ltd. is weighing a sale of Melbourne-based power retailer EnergyAustralia, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

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