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Exclusive: Thyssengas sale to be signed next month

First State, Borealis and Hastings are said to have submitted bids for the German utility, which Macquarie acquired from RWE in 2011.

Macquarie Group is likely to seal its exit from German gas network Thyssengas as early as next month, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A transaction to sell Thyssengas, which is held by the Australian firm’s European Infrastructure Fund 3, could value the company at between €500 million and €550 million, sources close to the deal told Infrastructure Investor.

It is understood that indicative bids were submitted at the beginning of April, with due diligence kicking off around the middle of the month. Parties said to be in the running include First State Investments, Borealis Infrastructure and Hastings, as well as Luxembourg-based energy group Enovos International and Belgian counterpart Fluxys.

Macquarie, Hastings and First State declined to comment. Borealis did not respond to a request for comment while Thyssengas, Enovos and Fluxys could not be reached before publication.

Macquarie initially invested in Thyssengas in 2011, acquiring the business from German energy group RWE for an undisclosed sum. The company transports about 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas via 4,200 kilometres of pipelines every year. It employs around 290 staff.

European gas networks have proven popular of late, with a number of hefty secondary transactions sealed over the last few years.

In April 2015, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure sold Spanish gas network Madrileña Red de Gas to a consortium formed of Dutch pension administrator PGGM, French utility EDF and China’s Gingko Tree Investment for €1.25 billion.

In May 2012, E.ON divested Open Grid Europe, its domestic gas transmission business, to a consortium of Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 4, Infinity Investments, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and MEAG for €3.2 billion.

First State itself is already familiar with the German gas market, having bought two grids in the country in 2013 and 2014 through its €2 billion European Diversified Infrastructure Fund.