By Adam J. Ang

A COMPANY controlled by AC Energy, Inc. has offered A$777 million to take over an Australia-listed renewable energy firm in a deal that could further boost the Ayala group’s clean energy capacity.

Listed conglomerate Ayala Corp. told the stock exchange on Wednesday that UAC Energy Holdings Pty. Ltd. had acquired a 12.82% stake in Infigen Energy Ltd. for A$90.4 million.

Separately, Infigen disclosed to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday that UAC intends to buy more shares at A$0.80 each apart from its already acquired stake. UAC said in a press release that the off-market takeover bid implies an equity value of A$777 million for 100% of Infigen.

“Our investment into Infigen reflects our confidence in the prospects for renewable energy in Australia. Investing into an operating renewable energy portfolio helps us meet our corporate and sustainability objectives. We are excited to support Infigen as it continues to expand in this sector,” AC Energy Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.

AC Energy’s parent Ayala Corp. said the investment is part of its energy unit’s aim to bolster renewables capacity by 2025.

“The investment in Infigen is a crucial move forward for AC Energy’s regional expansion as it remains committed to its goal of exceeding 5GW (gigawatts) of attributable capacity, with 50% of energy generated from renewables, by 2025,” the listed conglomerate said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Wednesday.

Ayala expects the affiliate company’s offer to be a “months-long process.” The bid is subject to approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and the acceptance of Infigen’s security holders.

“The acquisition of interest in Infigen by UAC strengthens both AC Energy’s and UPC\AC’s commitment to provide low-cost power in Australia by expanding its operating portfolio and enabling the sale of energy through retail channels,” the company said.

Infigen develops, generates, and sells renewable energy. It owns and operates 670 megawatts of wind farms in Australia, along with gas, battery, and contracted assets.

UAC is 75% owned by AC Energy. The remaining 25% is held by UPC\AC Renewables Australia, a joint venture of the Ayala unit and UPC Renewables Australia.

“The Infigen investment is highly complementary to our previous investments in UPC\AC Renewables Australia, where we are already developing a large portfolio of renewable energy assets,” AC Energy President Eric T. Francia said.

The joint venture is currently developing four renewables projects in Australia.

“We have ready access to capital and significant renewable energy expertise that will position us well to support Infigen’s pipeline of projects and focus on much needed renewable energy investment and associated employment in Australia,” UAC Chairman Anton Rohner said in a press statement.

On Wednesday, shares in Ayala Corp. rose by 1.82% to close at P755.50 each.