Fiera Axium-led team buys stake in US wind farms

A consortium led by Fiera Axium Infrastructure has acquired a minority interest in eight operating wind farms in the US from EDP Renewables.

A consortium comprising Toronto-based Fiera Axium Infrastructure, the asset management arm of Swiss Life and John Hancock Life Insurance Company, has acquired a minority interest in an 1,100 megawatt (MW) US wind portfolio from EDP Renewables (EDPR), Fiera Axium said in a statement.

The Toronto fund manager did not disclose financial details of the transaction nor the specific interest it and its partners acquired except to say that EDPR will retain a majority of the cash equity interests in the portfolio and will continue to manage the assets.

The eight wind farms, which are already in operation across seven US states, are contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with an average term of approximately 16 years. They are located in the following seven states: California (Rising Tree); Oregon (Rattlesnake Road); Oklahoma (Blue Canyon V); Kansas (Meridian Way); Iowa (Prairie I and II); Indiana (Headwaters); and Ohio (Timber Road III), a spokesperson for Fiera Axium said in an e-mail.

“We are delighted to partner for the second time with EDPR, a world class firm, in the ownership and operation of renewable generation assets,” Fiera Axium president and chief operating officer Stéphane Mailhot said in a statement referring to Fiera Axium’s 2013 acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Wheat Field, a 97MW wind farm in Oregon also acquired from EDPR.

Fiera Axium is financing its part of the acquisition through the Fiera Axium Infrastructure US fund, part of the Fiera Axium North America feeder fund, which expands the geographic focus beyond Canada to include the US, according to the spokesperson. Fiera Axium Infrastructure North America Fund, also referred to as Fund II, also invests in Fiera Axium Infrastructure Canada II.

The investment firm tapped the Fiera Axium Infrastructure Canada II fund last year to finance its portion of a 30 percent stake in in the Saint-Robert Bellarmin wind project in Québec, which it acquired in partnership with members of the Desjardins Group. As of September, Fund II had a diversified portfolio of more than 40 Canadian and US assets across the energy, transportation and social infrastructure sectors, according to Fiera Axium.

Fund II’s predecessor, Fiera Axium Infrastructure Canada (Fund I), is a 10-year closed-end fund targeting investments in Canada. Fund I closed on C$460 million (€349.6 million; $375.2 million) in February 2011, according to Infrastructure Investor Research & Analytics. It is fully invested or committed in 23 Canadian infrastructure assets.

This latest transaction comes a little more than a month since another Fiera Axium-led consortium acquired 100 percent of Montreal Gateway Terminals, the largest container terminal at the Port of Montreal, from Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.

Jointly controlled by Fiera Capital Corporation and Axium Infrastructure Management, Fiera Axium Infrastructure invests in core infrastructure assets. It manages dedicated infrastructure funds having approximately C$1.2 billion in total assets under management.