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Morrison in $380m Australian wind deal

The asset manager’s investment in the 420MW project was funded by a combination of equity and project finance debt.

The New Zealand-headquartered infrastructure investment manager H.R.L. Morrison & Co (Morrison & Co) announced in a statement the acquisition of a 50 percent participating interest in the 420-megawatt (MW) Macarthur Wind Farm from Australian integrated energy company AGL Energy (AGL) for a purchase price of A$532 million (€335 million; $379 million).

Located in south-west Victoria, the Macarthur Wind Farm features 140 3-MW Vestas V112 turbines and is the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.

The other 50 percent interest is held by Malaysian power company Malakoff Corporation (Malakoff).

As part of the transaction, AGL will continue to operate and maintain the Macarthur Wind Farm on behalf of Morrison & Co and Malakoff, and retains the rights to all Renewable Energy Certificates and electricity output until 2038.

“The Macarthur Wind Farm is a highly attractive investment, providing the stable contracted cash flows and inflation-protection that we seek from infrastructure assets,” said Paul Newfield, Morrison & Co’s head of investment strategy.

“Morrison & Co has been investing in renewable energy since 1994, so this is a sector we know well,” he added. “Wind farms of the scale and quality of Macarthur are rare, and we’re very pleased to have completed the investment.”

The investment was funded by a combination of Morrison & Co managed equity and project finance debt provided by Australian and international banks. Morrison & Co currently manages A$6 billion of infrastructure assets on behalf of retail, institutional and sovereign wealth fund clients.

The sale of the Macarthur Wind Farm also marks the first step toward AGL’s target of A$1 billion in asset divestments by the end of fiscal 2017.

“AGL is positioning itself to deliver sustainable earnings growth against the backdrop of a transformation of the energy industry,” the company said in a statement.

AGL is Australia’s largest operator and developer of renewable energy generation with over 1,900MW of renewable capacity currently in operation or under development.