AC Energy—a unit of billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayala’s Ayala Corp.—has agreed to take full ownership of its Australian renewable energy joint venture as the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate steps up investments to become the biggest listed renewable energy platform in Southeast Asia.
Under the deal, AC Energy will acquire the remaining 51.6% stake in UPC/AC Renewables Australia that it doesn’t own from partners UPC Renewables Asia Pacific Holdings and UPC Renewables CEO Anton Rohner for $243 million, the company said in a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Upon completion of the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals including the consent of the Foreign Investment Review Board of Australia, AC Energy will have 100% ownership of the venture.
Separately, UPC Renewables and Rohner have agreed to buy up to 942 million AC Energy shares for 11.32 pesos each, or a total consideration of 10.7 billion pesos ($210 million). The deal will give Rohner and UPC Renewables a stake of about 2.5% in AC Energy, based on the company’s existing outstanding share capital of 38.2 billion shares.
“This transaction marks a strategic pivot for AC Energy, as the company embarks on its first wholly owned development and operations outside of the Philippines,” Eric Francia, AC Energy president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are excited to scale up investment in our Australia platform, as we expect the country to accelerate its energy transition.”
Since its formation in 2018, UPC/AC Renewables Australia has developed over 8,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects across New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. It is currently constructing a 520-megawatt solar farm in New England.
AC Energy has built around 2,600 megawatts of attributable capacity across the Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam and aims to double the capacity to 5,000 megawatts by 2025. The investments in these projects will help AC Energy fulfill its goal of becoming the largest listed renewable energy platform in Southeast Asia, chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said in the company’s latest annual report.
To support the group’s expansion plans, the firm has raised $1 billion so far this year from a combination of fund raising initiatives that included the issuance of green bonds, a rights issue, a follow on offering and a private placement to Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC earlier this year, AC Energy said last month.
AC Energy is 71% owned by Ayala Corp., which traces its roots to 1834 when the country was a colony of Spain. Fernando’s great grandfather started a distillery in Manila and then expanded into banking, hotels, real estate and telecommunications.
Fernando’s father Jaime Zobel de Ayala, 87, was ranked the country’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $3.3 billion when the list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest was published last month. The older Ayala retired in 2006, and his eldest son Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who had been the CEO of Ayala Corp. since 1994, succeeded him as chairman. In April this year, Fernando took over as CEO and Jaime Augusto continues to serve as chairman.