SYDNEY, March 28, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A North American consortium says it has agreed to take over Australia's Origin Energy in a deal valued at Aus$18.7 billion (US$12 billion), vowing to slash carbon emissions.
Origin shares crept a little higher in early Sydney trading Tuesday, after its board unanimously called on shareholders to back the binding offer by a consortium led by Canada's Brookfield and US investor EIG.
If approved by regulators and shareholders, Brookfield will take over Origin's major power generation and energy retail operations, while EIG's MidOcean will snap up the gas and LNG side of the business, the firms said on Monday evening.
"As the energy transition gathers pace, what's needed is increasingly clear: faster deployment of large-scale renewables, the accelerated, responsible retirement of coal generation, and an interim, supportive role for gas as the dependable back-up fuel," said Brookfield Asset Management chair Mark Carney, a former Bank of England governor.
"Brookfield is determined that the new Origin Energy Markets will lead the way in all respects at this critical moment for the Australian economy."
Brookfield said it planned to invest at least Aus$20 billion over the next decade in building renewable energy and storage in Australia.
The investment is expected to allow the early retirement of one of Australia's largest coal-fired power plants, Eraring, which lies on the east coast about 90 kilometres (60 miles) north of Sydney, Brookfield said.
The takeover bid, first announced in November last year, offers Origin shareholders a mix of Aus$5.78 and US$2.19 a share, with a total value estimated at Aus$18.7 billion, subject to currency swings.
Australia, one of the world's largest coal exporters, has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 43 percent before the end of 2030.
Ferocious forest fires and floods have swept swathes of the country over the past five years, raising many people's concerns about the impact of climate change.