MELBOURNE, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell has
made its first foray into selling power to households in
Australia, teaming up with an infrastructure fund to buy
Meridian Energy's local electricity business for A$729
million ($528 million).
The deal, which follows Shell's acquisition of the country's
biggest power supplier to commercial businesses in 2019, is in
line with its plans to double the amount of power it sells
globally to retail and business customers by 2030 to around 560
terawatt hours a year.
"Our aim is to become a leading provider of clean
power-as-a-service and this acquisition broadens our customer
portfolio in Australia to include households," Elisabeth
Brinton, Shell's executive vice president of renewables and
energy Solutions, said in a statement.
Meridian's local electricity and gas retail business has
more than 185,000 customers. It is Australia's 10th largest
electricity retailer with roughly a 1% residential market share,
according to consumer comparison firm Canstar Blue.
Infrastructure Capital Group will acquire Meridian's 300
megawatts of Australian power assets - which include wind farms
and hydropower - as well as a wind farm development project and
an energy storage project. Shell has agreed to buy all of the
output from the producing assets.
Shell and ICG did not disclose how much each was putting
towards the acquisition.
The deal expands ICG's renewable generation capacity under
management by more than 50% to 875 MW.
"Not only does this significantly scale our renewables
portfolio but the addition of hydro comes at an important stage
as we look to diversify with well-established, well-located
assets," ICG Managing Director Tom Laidlaw said in a statement.
Meridian put the business up for sale this year and
attracted bids from Spain's Iberdrola SA and Italy's
Enel SpA among others, according to Australian media.
The deal is expected to close in early 2022 pending foreign
investment approval from the Australian government.
($1 = 1.3812 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru and Sonali Paul in
Melbourne; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)