Macquarie buys Mexico’s Norte III gas plant from Abengoa

The Spanish firm, which was chosen to build the combined-cycle plant in 2015 under a $1.55bn deal, exited as part of its viability plan.

Abengoa has sold the Norte III combined-cycle gas plant under construction in northern Mexico to Macquarie Capital, just under three years after the Spanish technology firm was chosen for the project.

The firms would not disclose the sale price, but the deal reached between Abengoa and Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission in January 2015 was valued at $1.55 billion including operation and maintenance.

The 907MW plant is under construction at Ciudad Juárez, a city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua along the US border. In 2015, Abengoa was tasked by the CFE with the engineering, design and construction of the plant and with its operation and maintenance for a 25-year period. Macquarie’s contract with the CFE will retain the scope and power price agreed by Abengoa, while construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

Buenos Aires-based Techint Engineering and Construction will take over as the project’s EPC contractor and hold an equity stake, Macquarie said in a statement. Abengoa will remain tasked with the construction of the associated water treatment plant.

For Abengoa, the divestment represents another step in the firm’s viability plan. Since launching insolvency proceedings in November 2015, Abengoa has sold off several assets including the Palomas wind farm in Uruguay, Bioenergy Europe and Bioenergy USA, the Ashalim solar-thermal plant in Israel and the Qingdao desalination plant in China.

Macquarie Capital, meanwhile, is looking to become more active in Mexico.

“This is a re-entrance into the market for us. We have been following the activity and are looking to do a number of things on the back of this transaction,” Rob Kupchak, Americas head of infrastructure for Macquarie Capital, told Infrastructure Investor. “We are looking for a good entrance spot into this market. Now that we have found one, we are going to become much more involved.”