London, 27 March 2022
Macquarie Asset Management and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (the Consortium) have reached an agreement to acquire a 60 per cent stake in National Grid’s gas transmission and metering business. The terms of the transaction imply an enterprise value for the business of approximately £9.6 billion1.
National Grid owns and operates the UK’s regulated national gas transmission system and an independent gas metering business. The 7,660-kilometre transmission system plays a critical role in the UK energy landscape, reliably transporting the gas needed to heat homes and power industry and electricity generation.
The Consortium will partner with National Grid to ensure the national gas transmission system and metering business remain secure, safe, and reliable while enabling the UK to accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels, at least cost to consumers. The Consortium invests on behalf of long-term institutional investors including pension and insurance funds, and intends to remain invested in the business over multiple regulatory periods, having acquired its stake under existing RIIO-2 regulatory obligations.
As part of this transaction, the Consortium has also entered into an option agreement with National Grid for the potential acquisition of the remaining 40 per cent stake in the business on broadly similar terms, subject to necessary adjustments. Further details will be announced if the option is exercised by the Consortium.
Martin Bradley, Head of Macquarie Asset Management’s Real Assets team in EMEA, said “The national transmission system is a critical enabler of the UK’s energy transition, providing the flexibility and reserve energy needed in the electricity system as the deployment of renewable sources of generation accelerates. However, if the UK’s net-zero by 2050 target is to be met, the country must have a next-generation transmission backbone to power homes and businesses with renewable energy. Backed by our significant investment, the transmission system will play a leading role in making the network ready for this transition. In doing so it will support the expansion of hydrogen’s role in the energy mix to deliver a competitive edge to the UK and its industry, while working closely with the Government and Ofgem to maintain security of supply.”
Lincoln Webb, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Infrastructure & Renewable Resources at BCI, said “This investment aligns well with our diversified portfolio of regulated utilities that securely deliver critical services to customers. We believe National Grid’s innovative decarbonisation strategy will ensure the business plays a leadership role in supporting the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions on target by 2050, while meeting consumer demand for reliable networks.”
John Pettigrew, Chief Executive of National Grid, said “Today’s announcement is a strong result for all our stakeholders, including employees and customers. The Consortium has a long-term commitment to the UK with significant experience in owning and operating infrastructure assets. I look forward to our partnership and continuing to deliver safe and reliable gas service at the least cost to consumers. I would also like to thank my colleagues in Gas Transmission and Metering for their hard work that has helped us reach this important milestone.”
An increased role for hydrogen in the energy mix, and by extension development of the network, is a core element of the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Hydrogen offers a flexible, low carbon, and storable source of energy that can also decarbonise hard to abate sectors including heating and key industrial processes.
The Consortium will actively support and develop several projects currently being progressed across the national gas transmission system to ensure the opportunities presented by hydrogen to the UK are maximised. FutureGrid, which is utilising decommissioned transmission assets to demonstrate how hydrogen can be delivered safely and reliably using existing infrastructure, could help unlock plans to build an initial hydrogen ‘backbone’ network through investment to link key production sites and industrial clusters by 2030.
Completion of the transaction will be subject to certain antitrust and regulatory conditions. Subject to these clearances, the Consortium expects that the transaction will complete in the second half of calendar year 2022.
With C$199.6 billion of assets under management as of March 31, 2021, BCI is one of Canada’s largest institutional investors. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, BCI is a long-term investor that invests across a range of asset classes: fixed income; public equities; private equity; infrastructure; renewable resources; real estate; and commercial mortgages. BCI’s clients include public sector pension plans, insurance, and special purpose funds. BCI’s Infrastructure & Renewable Resources program, valued at over C$20.0 billion, invests in tangible long-life assets that include a portfolio of direct investments in companies across a variety of sectors spanning regulated utilities, energy, telecommunications, and transportation, as well as investments in timberlands and agri-businesses. These companies operate in stable and mature regulatory environments, provide opportunities for future capital investments, and have the potential to generate steady returns and cash yields for our clients. The program is diversified across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.
For more information, please visit bci.ca.
National Grid lies at the heart of a transforming energy system, spanning the UK and the US. Our businesses supply gas and electricity, safely, reliably and efficiently to millions of customers and communities. But we also drive change through engineering innovation and by incubating new ideas with the power to revolutionise our industry.
National Grid is pioneering ways to decarbonise the energy system; from building interconnectors to allow the UK to share clean energy with our neighbours in Europe, to investing in renewable energy generation in the United States. As one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, National Grid is at the centre of a clean, fair and affordable energy future, where tackling climate change and reaching net zero is a key priority.
For more information, please visit nationalgrid.com.