Biggest M&A deal in Romania this year: Australian investment group will take over CEZ's assets
Czech utility group CEZ has reached an agreement to sell its Romanian assets to funds managed by the Australian group Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). The deal targets seven companies, including electricity distribution networks, energy supply, and the biggest wind park in Romania (Fantanele-Cogealac), among others. The transaction's value was not disclosed, but local media sources estimate it at around EUR 1 billion, making it the biggest M&A deal this year.
"Transaction documentation was signed today. Closing of the transaction is subject to receiving approval from European antitrust authorities and the Romanian Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT)," CEZ announced in a press release on October 23.
The divestment of selected Romanian assets is part of CEZ Group's new strategy to divest chosen assets in certain countries. CEZ managed to reach an agreement to sell its assets in Romania just 13 months after the group launched the process.
CEZ Group and MIRA have reached an agreement on the sale of all three business segments that were included in the transaction: electricity distribution, energy supply, and an operational renewable energy portfolio. CEZ Group will remain active in Romania through its trading (CEZ Trade Romania) and energy services (High-Tech Clima) divisions.
French financial group Société Générale (together with its group companies Komercni banka and BRD – Groupe Société Générale) acted as exclusive financial advisor to the CEZ Group on the sale.
CEZ says it experienced a strong interest in its assets. A Romanian consortium made of state-owned power producer Hidroelectrica, state-controlled energy holding Electrica, and state-owned energy assets company SAPE also placed a bit for CEZ's local assets. The other competitors were India Power Corporation, Hungarian power group MVM (Magyar Villamos Művek), German utilities group E.ON, and the German financial services group Allianz, according to the local media. "Despite the difficult environment caused by COVID-19, CEZ, and Société Générale maintained a high level of competition in the transaction. MIRA submitted the most attractive offer, which was confirmed by independent valuation reports," the group said in a press release.
The transaction needs to be approved by the European Directorate-General for Competition and the Romanian Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT).
MIRA is the world's largest infrastructure manager and is part of Macquarie Group, a top 10 Australian company by market capitalization. MIRA is a long-term investor with extensive experience in managing essential electricity infrastructure around the world. On March 31, 2020, MIRA managed approximately EUR 120 billion in assets worldwide.
CEZ entered the Romanian energy market in 2005 when it bought the distribution company operating in Romania's southern region, Electrica Oltenia, covering 86,665 km of power lines. The electricity supply business serves 1.4 million customers. In 2008, CEZ started constructing the 600 MW onshore wind park near the Fantanele and Cogealac villages in Dobrogea. Construction finished in 2012 when the park became the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. In 2011, CEZ added 22 MW of hydro capacity to its Romanian portfolio when it bought and modernized four smaller plants near Resita.
(Photo source: CEZ Romania Facebook page)