After starting a bidding war, the APA Group is now arguing its AusNet takeover offer is far more attractive than the Brookfield scheme and would essentially see the creation of “flagship” Australian energy infrastructure business worth billions.
APA’s $10 billion proposal for the acquisition of a 100 per cent stake in AusNet would create Australia’s largest energy transmission and distribution infrastructure utility, with a combined enterprise value of $35 billion and total assets of $29 billion, APA said in an ASX filing on Friday.
This “flagship”, APA said, would have the scale and capability to accelerate the $20 billion growth in electricity transmission infrastructure needed to support the decarbonisation of Australia’s economy.
Moreover, it added, leveraging APA’s national platform, balance sheet and deep relationships in the energy sector would accelerate “next generation” energy solutions, with a current organic growth pipeline of $5 billion and long-term market opportunities for $68 billion.
But APA’s promises don’t stop there, with the group offering to expand AusNet’s infrastructure networks beyond Victoria, extend CGT rollover relief to shareholders and guarantee a quicker, four-week due diligence period.
APA’s decisive battle for AusNet’s shares appears to be an attempt by the company to derail Brookfield’s offer, after AusNet just days ago entered a period of exclusivity with Brookfield for effectively eight weeks.
The exclusivity deal was made a day before APA lodged its non-binding indicate proposal; however, the group has since argued that AusNet knew its proposal was in the works given a notice inked on 16 September.
“APA is disappointed that AusNet has purported to enter into a period of exclusivity with Brookfield for effectively eight weeks, notwithstanding AusNet’s knowledge of the pending revised, and potentially superior proposal, from APA,” the company said in a recent filing to the ASX.
APA is being supported by Aquasia, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Macquarie for financial advice, with King & Wood Mallesons acting as legal counsel.