Source: WEL Networks
The sale of UFF Holdings Limited (UFFH), the holding company for Hamilton-based fibre business Ultrafast Fibre Limited, to First State Investments (FSI) is now unconditional.
Electricity distributors WEL Networks Limited (WEL) and Waipa Networks Limited (Waipa) announced their decision to sell their shares in UFFH in May, subject to regulatory approvals which have now been confirmed.
First State Investments (FSI) agreed to purchase WEL Networks’ 85% majority shareholding and Waipa Networks’ 15% shareholding in UFFH for $854 million, subject to completion adjustments, of which a consideration of $200 million payable to WEL is deferred for 18 months from completion. The $200 million deferred payment is supported by obligations enforceable against the Purchaser.
WEL Group Chairman Rob Campbell says: “The UFF sale enables WEL Networks to strengthen the core electricity business balance sheet, allowing us to pursue new opportunities and invest in innovative energy solutions in accordance with our business strategy. The investment in fibre has both delivered valuable infrastructure to our communities and proved a very successful investment for WEL.”
WEL Energy Trust Chairman Mike West says while ownership of the region’s fibre network is changing, the asset will always remain for the benefit of the wider community.
“A decade ago, with the full support of WEL Energy Trust, WEL undertook a bold investment in UFF with a vision of providing a fibre network to benefit our region. This was a 100% debt funded venture. To find ways to reduce the risk associated with this debt a capital structure review was commenced by the Company in early 2019 and this culminated in the sale of UFF. WEL Energy Trust is pleased this will enable WEL Networks to focus on its core business and continue to provide a robust and reliable electricity network well into the future, benefiting us all.”
WEL Networks will continue working with FSI to ensure a smooth transition and will confirm once the transaction has been completed.