SSE agrees to sell 50% stakes in two energy-from-waste ventures

Move comes as part of company’s plan to focus on renewable generation

SSE Plc rose after it agreed to sell its 50 per cent stakes in two energy-from-waste ventures as part of its plan to focus on renewable generation.

The Scottish utility, which owns SSE Airtricity in Ireland, will sell its holdings in Multifuel Energy Ltd and Multifuel Energy 2 Ltd to the European Diversified Infrastructure Fund III, a fund managed by First Sentier Investors, for a total of £995 million (€1.1 million) in cash, the company said in a statement.

After the sale of its retail arm for £500 million in January, SSE is restructuring to focus just on generation and networks. The company has 2.8 gigawatts of British offshore wind farms under construction as it tries to position itself as a leading developer of the technology.

The UK government wants to boost capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2030 from 10 gigawatts now.

Early priority

In June 2020, SSE identified its interests in MEL1 and MEL2 as an early priority for sale as part of a strategy to secure at least £2 billion from disposals by autumn 2021. The cash from the sale will help the company to invest £7.5 billion in low-carbon energy infrastructure over the next five years.

"While these multifuel assets have been successful ventures for SSE, they are non-core investments and we are pleased to have agreed a sale that delivers significant value," said Gregor Alexander, the company's finance director.

The transaction is expected to complete by late 2020 subject to antitrust approval by the European Commission.

SSE is now 75 per cent of the way toward its autumn 2021 divestment target. "We continue to like SSE as a play on two structural growth opportunities; electricity networks and renewables, in particular the growth in UK offshore wind, and today's divestment will support the company's increased focus on these two areas and can be considered a positive," Mark Nelson, analyst at Killik and Co LLP said. – Bloomberg