RWE AG has reached an agreement on the sale of a 74.9 % share in transmission systems operator Amprion. Amprion is the largest of the four German transmission systems operators. The buyer is a consortium of mainly German institutional financial investors consisting of insurance companies and special pension funds. It is managed by Commerz Real AG, a subsidiary of Commerzbank AG. Members of the consortium are companies belonging to Munich Re and ERGO, represented by MEAG, Swisslife and Talanx as well as the Westfalen-Lippe doctors’ pension fund.
RWE will retain a 25.1 % shareholding in Amprion. Dr. Juergen Grossmann, CEO of RWE AG said: “Network expansion requires very high levels of investment and we are spreading this burden. Amprion plans to invest over €3 billion over the next 10 years. In the investor consortium, we have gained a reliable, financially sound partner with a long-term strategy. RWE will continue to provide competent and reliable support to Amprion’s transmission systems business.”
In addition, RWE will temporarily hold a stake in the consortium, giving it a further indirect share in Amprion of 10.8 % on top of the minority shareholding of 25.1 %. Commerz Real AG will also temporarily hold the equivalent of a 13 % shareholding in Amprion. Commerz Real AG is to sell on this shareholding to further investors in the short term.
The sale price is based on an overall enterprise value of approximately €1.3 billion (as at 1 January 2011). This figure represents almost the entire regulated asset base of Amprion as recognised by the German regulator and is about eight times Amprion’s recurrent earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). The transaction reduces RWE’s net debt and will thus make a contribution towards the company’s aim of improving its debt situation.
The sale of Amprion is a further step in RWE’s divestment programme. The company had announced a disposal programme of up to €8 billion worth of company assets as part of its mid-term planning strategy.
The transaction is subject in particular to the approval of the Supervisory Board of RWE AG as well as the responsible anti-trust authorities. Completion of the transaction is expected in the third quarter of 2011.