SSE in £355m sell-down of stake in Clyde windfarm

Perth-headquartered power producer SSE has sold a minority stake in its flagship Clyde onshore windfarm for £355 million. The divestment of a 49.9% interest in the array to Greencoat Wind UK and Greater Manchester Pension Fund and London Pensions Fund Authority Infrastructure (GLIL) takes the total raised by SSE through its disposal programme through the £1 billion barrier since 2014. The cash will support future capital investment programmes. Greencoat has previously purchased windfarm assets from SSE, with the London-based group having picked up 79.5MW of capacity in 2013 with the acquisition of Braes of Doune and Carcant in Scotland and Tappaghan and Bin Mountain in Northern Ireland. The new deal will see Greencoat take up a 28.2% interest in Clyde, while GLIL will hold a 21.7% position. When the 172.8MW extension to Clyde is commissioned next summer, Greencoat and GLIL’s stake will be diluted to 30%, with SSE retaining 70% of the overall scheme. The utility company will continue to offer management services to the site and provide a route to market through long-term power purchase agreements. Siemens retains its role in providing operations and maintenance support to the turbines. Martin Pibworth, SSE’s managing director, wholesale, said: “The sale represents another significant step in a programme of disposals to recycle capital and optimise our windfarm pipeline. “The proceeds from this disposal will help to support our future investments in a balanced range of energy assets.” SSE was advised by Rothschild, Credit-Suisse and CMS. The transaction is expected to complete this week. Following the acquisition, Greencoat said it expected its debts of £325m to be approximately 38% of gross asset value, below the existing leverage limit of 40%. Greencoat chairman Tim Ingram said: “We are pleased to announce UKW’s latest acquisition, which will deliver an attractive investment return, in line with the existing portfolio. “We are delighted to extend our relationship with SSE and co-own Clyde, one of the largest onshore windfarms in the UK.” Paddy Dowdall, from the Greaster Manchester Pension Fund, said: “We are excited to be investing alongside Greencoat UK Wind and SSE in this venture. “This investment offers us attractive returns, complements our growing renewable portfolio, and continues our commitment to investing directly in British infrastructure.” SSE shares closed up 8p at at 1,470p, while Greencoat ended the day down 0.25p at 107.75p.