A consortium led by Fiera Axium Infrastructure and composed of Fiera Axium Infrastructure US LP, Swiss Life Funds (Lux) Global Infrastructure Opportunities S.C.A., SICAV-SIF and John Hancock Life Insurance Co. announced April 17 that it has acquired a minority ownership interest in a 1,100 MW portfolio of eight operating wind farms located throughout the United States from EDP Renewables (EDPR).
The portfolio consists of assets located in seven states and is fully contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with a weighted average life of over 16 years. EDPR will retain a majority of the cash equity interests in the portfolio and will continue to act as the manager of all of the assets. Fiera Axium didn’t name the specific wind farms that are part of this portfolio.
The transaction follows Fiera Axium’s acquisition of a 49% ownership interest of Wheat Field, a 97-MW operating project in Oregon from EDPR in November 2013.
“The addition of a stable, yielding Portfolio of this caliber is an attractive development for our Limited Partners and a significant milestone for Fiera Axium as a core infrastructure investor in the United States. We are grateful to the exceptional management and operating teams at EDPR, and to our consortium members, lenders and counsel for working in such a collaborative fashion to execute the transaction,” said Paulo Arencibia, Vice President & Investment Director of Fiera Axium Infrastructure US Inc., manager of Fiera Axium Infrastructure US LP.
“We are delighted to partner for the second time with EDPR, a world class firm, in the ownership and operation of renewable generation assets. We are also thrilled to be partnering with consortium members that share our long-term investment horizon for core infrastructure assets,” said Stéphane Mailhot, President and COO of Fiera Axium Infrastructure US Inc.
In connection with the acquisition, Santander Bank N.A. and Prudential Capital Group provided credit facilities to support the acquisition financing. Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP acted as legal advisor to Fiera Axium’s consortium and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor for the lenders.
Fiera Axium is an independent portfolio management firm dedicated to generating long-term investment returns through investing in core infrastructure assets. Fiera Axium manages dedicated infrastructure funds having in excess of $1.2 billion in assets under management. Focus is placed on assets that are supported by robust market demand and under long-term contract with creditworthy counterparties.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November 2014 approved the sale of indirect interests in eight wind farms by EDP Renewables North America LLC. In September 2014, eight project companies – Arlington Wind Power Project LLC, Blue Canyon Windpower V LLC, Cloud County Wind Farm LLC, Headwaters Wind Farm LLC, Paulding Wind Farm II LLC, Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm I LLC, Rising Tree Wind Farm LLC and Rising Tree Wind Farm II LLC – and Fiera Axium Nove Acquisition Co LLC filed an application covering the transfer of certain indirect membership interests in these project companies from wholly-owned affiliates of EDP Renewables North America to Fiera Axium.
This approved transaction was to be executed in multiple stages, referred to as the Operating Vento Transaction, the Vento XI Transaction, and the Vento XII Transaction.
- Arlington owns and operates a 103-MW wind facility located in Gilliam County, Oregon.
- Blue Canyon V owns and operates a 105.6-MW wind facility in Comanche and Caddo counties, Oklahoma.
- Cloud County owns and operates a 201-MW wind facility located in Cloud County, Kansas.
- Headwaters was at the time constructing a 200-MW wind facility in Randolph County, Indiana. It was expected to achieve commercial operation on Dec. 31, 2014.
- Paulding II owns and operates a 99-MW wind facility located near Paulding County, Ohio.
- Pioneer Prairie owns and operates a 327.6-MW wind facility in Howard and Mitchell counties, Iowa.
- Rising Tree I was constructing an 80-MW wind facility in Kern County, California. It was to achieve commercial operation on Dec. 31, 2014.
- Rising Tree II was constructing a 19.8-MW wind facility in Kern County, California. It was expected to achieve commercial operation on Dec. 31, 2014.
The total capacity for these eight projects, incidentally, is 1,136 MW, and they are located in seven different states.