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Ayala leads A$777m bid for Australia's Infigen Energy

[SYDNEY] Infigen Energy, one of Australia's biggest wind-farm operators, has received a takeover offer from a group backed by the Philippines' Ayala Corp. valuing the company at A$777 million (S$753.4 million).

The A$0.80-per-share bid from UAC Energy Holdings Pty is at a 36 per cent premium to Infigen's closing price on Tuesday. UAC, which is 75 per cent controlled by Ayala, has already acquired a 12.8 per cent interest in Infigen. The takeover would be subject to approval by Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.

"We have ready access to capital and significant renewable energy expertise that will position us well to support Infigen's pipeline of projects," UAC's Chairman Anton Rohner said in a statement. UAC already owns a suite of renewable assets in Australia and said its move had the support of Infigen security-holders.

Infigen said that it was considering its response to the proposal, while noting that it was subject to "very detailed conditions."

Shares in the Sydney-based company surged as much as 37 per cent to A$0.81 on resuming trade on Wednesday. Infigen has one of the largest fleet of wind assets in Australia and also owns a gas peaking plant in New South Wales and a 25-megawatt big battery at Lake Bonney in South Australia.

The offer was attractive "in the context of recent falls in electricity prices as well as Infigen's relatively high debt servicing costs and its limited track-record in paying distributions," UAC said. Credit Suisse is acting as financial adviser for UAC, while Goldman Sachs and Lazard are advising Infigen.

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