Aussie super funds buy chunk of $867m plant

GE Energy Financial Services retains a controlling stake in the Worsley Multi-Fuel Cogeneration project.

MTAA Super and Prime Super, two Canberra-based industry pension funds, are part of a consortium that has bought a 49.9 percent stake in the A$1.2 billion (€794 million; $867 million) Worsley Multi-Fuel Cogeneration plant. 

Located in Collie, Western Australia, and commissioned in January 2014, the project is a two-unit multi-fuel cogeneration plant generating 104 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 550 tonnes of steam per hour to South32’s Worsley Refinery. South32 is a Perth-based metals and mining company.

GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS), the seller, retains a 50.1 percent stake in the project.

“While many managers have been focusing on highly competitive trophy asset processes, the investment in the Worsley Cogen demonstrates that there is a pipeline of exclusive, quality, mid-cap regional infrastructure assets underpinned by long-term contractual arrangements and solid fundamentals,” said Graham Matthews, chief investment officer at Whitehelm Capital, which advised all three investors in the transaction.

“The investment decision was underscored by the facility’s strong historical operating performance, predictable future returns, and an attractive acquisition multiple.”

Whitehelm Capital is an independent infrastructure manager with a current portfolio of 40 assets. It has over A$4.5 billion in funds under management and over A$15 billion in funds under advice. 

Prime Super now manages more than A$3 billion in funds, while MTAA has A$8.59 billion of assets under management.

Based in Stamford, Connecticut, GE EFS holds approximately $16 billion in assets. It recently reached financial close on the 175MW Pilot Hill wind project in Illinois, supplying 100 percent of the energy needs of Microsoft Corporation’s Chicago data centre.