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Business deals

Philippines' Ayala fights to take over Australia's Infigen Energy

Bidding war with Spain's Iberdrola heats up for renewables company

Australia-listed Infigen Energy owns and operates 670 megawatts of wind farm, gas, battery and other contracted assets.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp. and Spanish utility giant Iberdrola entered a bidding war on Monday for Australian renewable power purveyor Infigen Energy.

Ayala improved its offer by declaring that its AUD$0.86 per share bid was now "wholly unconditional," prompting Iberdrola to raise its bid to AUD$0.89 a share, slightly above the AUD$0.885 closing price on Friday. Iberdrola's offer values Infigen at AUD$856.3 million ($588 million), according to Reuters.

Ayala's move came after Infigen's management rejected its initial offer of AUD$0.80 and endorsed Iberdrola's AUD$0.86 bid, which it called "less conditional."

The prize is the Australia-listed company, which owns and operates 670 megawatts of wind farm, as well as gas, battery and other contracted assets.

Ayala, which had owned a 13.5% stake in Infigen through its Australian power unit UAC Energy Holdings, launched a takeover bid on June 3, but Infigen's board rejected the offer on June 23 after receiving a higher bid from Iberdrola.

The Philippine company's initial offer set a number of conditions related to regulatory approvals, Infigen's financing arrangement, material disclosures and changes, among others.

Ayala, through its legal adviser Herbert Smith Freehills, on Monday issued a notice "declaring that the takeover offers have been freed from all remaining defeating conditions."

Making a case for its offer, UAC early this month told Infigen shareholders that its offer was "particularly attractive" in the context of recent falls in electricity prices and Infigen's relatively high debt servicing costs, as well as its limited track record in paying distributions and developing its growth pipeline.

Infigen had also decided to put on hold investments in a number of projects and defer the delivery of its development pipeline.

Ayala's bid for Infigen is part of Ayala's target of achieving 5 gigawatts power generation capacity by 2025, of which 50% should come from renewable energy assets.

As of 2019, Ayala had 1.8 GW worth of power projects in the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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