Herbert Smith Freehills Advises Mitsui on Its Acquisition of Australian Assets from GDF SUEZ

Herbert Smith Freehills advised Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. Ltd, on its acquisition of 28% equity stake in International Power (Australia) Holdings Pty Ltd (“IPAH”) from French electric utility company GDF SUEZ S.A.. IPAH owns and operates four power generation plants with a combined capacity of 2604MW including Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria, as well as electricity and gas retailer Simply Energy with 350,000 customers.

This transaction strengthens the global partnership between Mitsui and GDF SUEZ, which covers power generation and LNG export businesses across 12 countries worldwide and is the first time Mitsui will participate in a vertically integrated power business.

Melbourne-based energy and resources partner Shane Kyriakou led the Herbert Smith Freehills team, assisted by Nathan Colangelo, Brodie Same and Jasper Kjar-Cruttenden. Tom Bowes worked directly with Mitsui’s commercial team in Tokyo. The firm’s corporate, competition, projects, finance and employment teams were all involved.

Shane Kyriakou commented on the complexity of the transaction:

“This was a large and strategically very important transaction for Mitsui. These are merchant assets in a mature market, with a mix of feedstocks and retail business. That Mitsui is able to participate in this kind of asset mix shows their sophistication and depth of expertise in the power sector. We have known this team at Mitsui for many years – they are very professional and a delight to work with. We are proud to have been able to assist them with this transaction, which is one of the largest acquisitions in the Australian electricity generation and retail sector in 2013.”

Mitsui and GDF SUEZ have a strong, long-term partnership with joint investments and cooperation on projects in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as well as their existing partnership in Australia involving the Loy Yang B and Kwinana power stations.

Following this acquisition, Mitsui now has an equity interest in all of the power business operated by GDF SUEZ in Australia, with a total generation capacity of 3,748MW. This portfolio makes Mitsui and GDF SUEZ the largest power producer in Victoria and the fourth largest in Australia.


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