Equis to invest in South Korea’s waste-to-energy sector

The four plants the Singapore-based developer intends to build are part of its plan to invest $2bn in infrastructure in Asia-Pacific over the next two years.

Singapore-based Equis Development has completed an equity capital raise of around 100 billion won ($84 million; €71 million) to build a portfolio of four waste-to-energy facilities in South Korea, a first step towards building out a WTE platform in the country.

The capital was raised in partnership with Hana Financial Investment, which served as underwriter, a spokesman for Equis told Infrastructure Investor.

The WTE facilities, which are expected to become operational in 2022, will be owned and operated by Vine Enviro, a company in which Equis will retain a 10 percent stake and will have the right to increase its ownership interest up to 55 percent.

As the project manager and co-owner, Equis will manage the development, construction and operation of the assets owned by Vine Enviro, it said in a statement. It also plans to expand its platform into future WTE and waste treatment facilities, with “the goal of becoming South Korea’s leading focused WTE business”.

Vine Enviro will invest about $225 million across the WTE facilities, which will re-purpose and process over 470,000 tons of waste per year. Additional capital will be raised via non-recourse project level debt, according to the statement.

“The facilities will serve a number of energy markets including power supply to the domestic grid, steam supply to industrial users and sludge drying for industrial and municipal users,” the spokesman said. “With a target of treating 1,190 tons per day of waste, as a group they represent one of the largest private treatment capacities for waste infrastructure in Korea.”

This latest investment is in line with Equis’ previously-stated plans to commit over $2 billion to waste processing, renewables and recycling infrastructure sub-sectors across Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan over the next two years.

Originally a fund manager, Equis changed its focus after it sold its renewables platform to Global Infrastructure Partners for $5 billion in January 2018. In June 2019, it dropped its fundraising activities and launched a new infrastructure development firm focusing on greenfield projects.