Australian billionaire snaps up CWP Renewables for over $2.7 bln

Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder, Fortescue Metals Group speaks at the Global Energy Transition 2022 conference in New York City, New York, U.S. June 14, 2022. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest’s private firm Squadron Energy has acquired CWP Renewables in Australia for more than A$4 billion ($2.7 billion), three people familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

Forrest said in a statement Squadron had acquired CWP Renewables, owner of 1.1 gigawatts of wind farms and a development pipeline of 1.3 GW of wind and solar farms in Australia, but did not disclose the price. CWP was sold by Swiss-based investor Partners Group (PGHN.S), which said it built the Australian business up after first investing in the Sapphire Wind Farm in the state of New South Wales in 2016.

“We are proud to have built a major renewable energy platform that is set to play a key role in decarbonizing Australia’s energy mix and supporting the country and its businesses in meeting their ambitious net zero ambitions,” Partners Group’s head of Australia, Martin Scott, said in a statement.

Other companies that had looked at CWP included Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC), Tilt Renewables, partly owned by AGL Energy (AGL.AX), and Origin Energy (ORG.AX), all aiming to expand in renewable energy as Australia speeds up its transition away from coal-fired power.

Forrest has been making a big push to wean Australia off fossil fuels and grow a green hydrogen business through his iron ore company, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX), as well as his private firm Squadron. With CWP Renewables, Squadron would have the scale it needs in eastern Australia to meet demand from large commercial and industrial customers for reliable green energy, Forrest said. “It is paramount that Australia continues to increase cost-efficient renewable green energy, to economically power homes and industry at pace and rid the Australian consumer of its forced reliance to increasingly expensive, dangerously pollutive fossil fuels,” he said in the statement on Wednesday.

Squadron is already majority owner of wind farm developer Windlab and is also building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in New South Wales and a renewable energy hub in Queensland.