Ørsted has signed an agreement to divest a 50 % ownership stake in its 1.3 GW Hornsea 2 Offshore Wind Farm in the UK to a consortium comprising AXA IM Alts, acting on behalf of clients, and Crédit Agricole Assurances.
Hornsea 2 is currently under construction and will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm once commissioned later in 2022. The total value of the transaction is GBP 3 billion, and the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022 once the wind farm is fully commissioned and customary regulatory approvals are obtained.
AXA IM Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances will then each own 25 % of the project. The investors’ 50 % stake in Hornsea 2 will be funded through a combination of equity and a senior multi-tranche staple financing package provided by 30 banks and including a covered tranche guaranteed by EKF, Denmark’s export credit agency. The financing package was originated and structured by Ørsted.
Spanning an offshore area of 462 km², Hornsea 2 is located 89 km off the Yorkshire coast in the Hornsea zone, one of the world’s largest offshore wind development areas. With a capacity of 1.3 GW, Hornsea 2 will provide enough green electricity to power the equivalent of more than 1.3 million homes annually. Hornsea 2 is a key project supporting the UK government’s objective of achieving 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
Ørsted is finalising the construction of the project and will provide long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) services for 20 years from its O&M base at the Port of Grimsby, the largest such base for offshore wind farms in the world. Furthermore, Ørsted will provide the incoming partners with balancing services and a long-term route to market for the renewable electricity generated from Hornsea 2.
Martin Neubert, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy Group CEO at Ørsted, said: “We’re delighted to partner with AXA IM Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances, two world-leading financial institutions, which are committed to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy in line with the Paris Agreement – thereby supporting the urgently needed shift from fossil-based to renewable energy sources.”
Mark Gilligan, Head of Infrastructure Equity at AXA IM Alts, said: “Our investment strategy is all about decarbonisation, electrification, and digitalisation. These are central to the energy transition. Hornsea 2 allows us to play an important role in decarbonising and electrifying the United Kingdom. This landmark transaction aligns with our aim of acquiring, for our clients, utility-scale low-carbon essential businesses and being a long-term partner of choice for outstanding operators like Ørsted.”
Philippe Dumont, CEO of Crédit Agricole Assurances, said: “We’re proud to announce this new partnership in favour of the energy transition. This investment in Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is fully in line with Crédit Agricole Group’s climate commitments. This operation will also contribute to Crédit Agricole Assurances’ objectives to double its investments in renewable energies and reach an 11 GW installed capacity by 2025.”
Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said: “We’re very much looking forward to working with our new partners and continuing to support the UK’s commitment to decarbonise electricity by 2035. Ørsted has invested more than GBP 14 billion in the UK to date, and when Hornsea 2 becomes fully operational later this year, our wind farms will be supplying over 7 % of Britain’s electricity. We’re now focused on helping the UK deliver on its 40 GW and Sector Deal target for offshore wind by 2030, a significant milestone in the energy transition that will deliver more than GBP 60 billion of investment for the UK while supporting the UK’s world-class offshore wind supply chain and more than 40,000 jobs over the next few years.”
The information provided in this announcement does not change Ørsted’s financial guidance for 2022. In addition to the above, Ørsted’s full-year EBITDA, including new partnership agreements, is expected to be significantly higher than the 2021 EBITDA of DKK 24.3 billion.
The transaction is subject to full commissioning of the Hornsea 2 project and certain regulatory approvals, including from relevant competition authorities, and is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Further information regarding the transaction can be found on orsted.com/investors.
Image source: Courtesy of Ørsted
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