GDF SUEZ has sold a 60% equity interest in its 680 MW Canadian renewable energy generation portfolio, which is valued in excess of C$2 billion (1.5 billion euros), to Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and a consortium led by Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc., which each hold a 30% interest in the new joint venture.
GDF SUEZ will remain the principal shareholder, retaining a 40% interest, and will continue to operate and maintain these assets. The 680 MW portfolio comprises 363 MW of operating wind energy facilities, and a further 317 MW of wind and solar power capacity that is expected to start commercial operation between 2013 and 2014.
All of the projects are backed by power purchase agreements with provincial utilities. The facilities are located in Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.
As part of the transaction, a total of C$1.1 billion (800 million euros) of project financing has been successfully raised from Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.
GDF SUEZ notes that in addition to its participation in this joint venture, the company will continue to develop its own pipeline of new renewable energy projects in Canada.
This transaction reduces GDF SUEZ's net debt by approximately C$1.3 billion (1 billion euros), according to the company, which adds that it has now achieved 3.9 billion euros out of the 5 billion euros expected this year for its asset optimization program.