By Adam J. Ang

AN AFFILIATE of Ayala-led AC Energy, Inc. and Spanish distribution utility Iberdrola, S.A. are now in a bidding war to take over an Australian energy company after both firms have raised their offer prices.

Infigen Energy Ltd. apprised the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday of separate disclosures on the offer revisions made by both companies.

In its second supplementary bidder’s statement, UAC Energy Holdings, which holds a 13.4% stake in Infigen, said it increased its bid by A$0.06 to A$0.86 per security and removed all its conditions, making it wholly unconditional.

It gave security holders an option to accept the offer for all or some of their securities. It also said that security holders accepting its bid will be paid immediately within 10 business days.

Moreover, it said it intends to obtain an unsecured loan from AC Energy Australia Pte. Ltd. on arm’s length terms to help Infigen refinance its corporate facility should it be needed.

Later on, Iberdrola came up with a revised offer of A$0.89 per security, topping UAC Energy’s offer anew by A$0.03. It has yet to provide full details on this in a supplementary statement.

Presented with the improved bids, security holders were told by Infigen’s board to abstain from accepting any of the two offers.

“The board advises that, at this stage, Infigen Security Holders should take no action,” the company said in another disclosure.

Infigen’s board said it is “currently considering developments” and will provide a detailed response in an additional target statement soon.

Previously, it told company security holders to accept Iberdrola’s A$841-million offer, which was then 7.5% higher compared with UAC Energy’s A$777-million bid.

So far, between the two companies, the indirect Ayala firm has secured the Foreign Investment Review Board’s approval, which is one of the conditions of the takeover bids.

Still, Iberdrola had gained an upper hand in taking over Infigen as it entered into a pre-bid agreement with Infigen’s biggest security holder, London-based The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), which agreed to sell 20% of its shares to the Spanish company if no higher bid emerges.

UAC Energy’s offer will close on July 24, while Iberdrola will receive acceptance to its bid until July 30.

Both companies swooped in to buy the renewable energy firm after its share price fell due to declining power prices in Australia and the challenges faced by renewables companies in connecting to a “shaky” grid, according to a Reuters report.

Iberdrola is one of the biggest global energy players having over 55 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in Spain, the United Kingdom, South America, and the United States. It powers around 34 million power consumers worldwide.

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

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

Philippine-listed Ayala Corp. earlier in the month said that the Infigen investment is a “crucial move” for AC Energy’s regional expansion as it commits to reaching over 5 GW of attributable capacity, half of which will come from clean energy, in the next five years.

On Monday, shares in Ayala Corp. went down 2.93% to close at P762 apiece.