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Renewable Energy M&A: Partners Group sells Australian renewables platform CWP in a $2.7bn deal

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The Swiss investment firm will sell CWP Renewables to Squadron Wind Energy Assets - owned by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, who also owns the mining and energy conglomerate Fortescue Metals. While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, sources have reported a transaction enterprise value of $2.7bn. CWP has a portfolio of 1.1 GW of operational onshore wind assets primarily in New South Wales, with a near-term pipeline of 5 GW of projects, and an additional 15 GW in the early stages of development. The company also has battery energy storage (BESS) projects under construction. The portfolio’s cashflows stem from long-term corporate PPAs with investment grade offtakers, such as Transurban, Woolworths Group, Sydney Airport, Commonwealth Bank, as well as with utility Snowy Hydro.

Partners Group made first contact with CWP when they invested in the 270 MW Sapphire wind farm in late 2016, following which they acquired CWP’s Australian development team and project pipeline in Nov '20. The private equity (PE) investor has been soliciting interest for the sale of CWP since Apr '22, when it hired Macquarie to assist with the deal and provide a ~$1.3bn ready-to-use debt package to the winning bidder, for financing the acquisition. The sale process received bids from French PE firm CDPQ, Australian power producer Tilt Renewables and Spanish energy major Iberdrola.

Enerdatics’ research shows that CWP’s EBITDA is expected to reach $100-117mn in 2023, with equity distributions estimated to be $70mn during the year. Forecasts suggest that within the next 15 years, these distributions will be in the range of $350-400mn, annually. According to Macquarie’s development model, CWP could reach up to 18 GW of installed capacity and more than $3.35bn in EBITDA by 2040. The deal is similar in size and scale to the sale of Tilt Renewables’ New Zealand business to a consortium of Powering Australian Renewables (PowAR) and Mercury NZ, for $2.9bn in Mar '21. The transacted portfolio, which came in at 4.7 GW, was technically similar to CWP’s - with the majority of the assets being onshore wind projects that were at early stages of development. The deal valued Tilt Renewables at a last-twelve-months (LTM) EBITDA multiple of 39 and a revenue multiple of 23, marking the highest-valued deal for renewable energy generation assets in the country, and one of the highest valued globally, since 2017.

The above analysis is proprietary to Enerdatics’ energy analytics team, based on the current understanding of the available data. The information is subject to change and should not be taken to constitute professional advice or a recommendation. 

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