Consortium comprising AXA Investment Management Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances agree to buy up stake in project that is set to come online later this year

Ørsted has agreed to sell a 50 per cent stake in its 1.3GW Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm that is currently under construction in the North Sea to a consortium of investors including AXA Investment Management Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances, the energy firm announced today.

The £3bn deal is expected to close during the second half of 2022 once the project enters into its full commissioning phase, with Ørsted continuing to oversee construction, maintenance, and long-term operation of the wind farm, in which it will maintain a 50 per cent ownership stake.

Boasting a 1.3GW capacity, Hornsea 2 is set to become one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms once its begins generating electricity later this year, providing enough power to meet the needs of more than 1.3 million homes each year, according to Ørsted.

Duncan Clark, Ørsted’s UK head, said the Hornsea 2 project would help support the UK’s commitments to delivering 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and decarbonise the electricity grid by 2035.

“Ørsted has invested more than £14bn in the UK to date, and when Hornsea 2 becomes fully operational later this year, our wind farms will be supplying over seven per cent of Britain’s electricity,” he said. “We’re now focused on helping the UK deliver on its 40GW and sector deal target for offshore wind by 2030, a significant milestone in the energy transition that will deliver more than £60bn 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.”

Under the deal, AXA IM Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances will each own 25 per cent of the project, with the transaction funded through a combination of equity and a senior multi-tranche staple financing package provided by 30 banks, including a covered tranche covered by Denmark’s export credit agency EKF.

Mark Gilligan, head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM Alts, said the investor’s strategy “is all about decarbonisation, electrification, and digitalisation”.

“These are central to the energy transition,” he said. “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.”

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