Energy group ČEZ is acquiring Macquarie Asset Management’s 55.21% interest in Czech Grid Holdings (CGH) for €846.5m.

Macquarie, which is selling its stake on behalf of its funds said the transaction gives CGH, a gas distribution and services firm, a €4bn enterprise value.

ČEZ expects to fund the transaction from a bridge loan provided by a group of banks but said it plans to permanently finance it later by issuing bonds in the market.  

CGH owns GasNet, the Czech Republic’s largest gas distribution network, and GasNet Služby, an associated network maintenance and operations business. The regulated gas distribution network transports energy to 2.3m connection points via 65,000km of pipelines that cover 80% of the country.

Pavel Cyrani, vice chairman of the management board of ČEZ, said: “In light of swiftly approaching end of coal in power and heat generation, natural gas distributed by GasNet is a crucial component of energy security in the near future. Later the role of GasNet network will continue with transporting hydrogen or other green gases.

“ČEZ aims to leverage its extensive experience with operation of power distribution and to focus on achieving synergies in operating both the gas and electricity networks on almost fully overlapping territories.”      

Macquarie first invested in CGH, which was previously known as Innogy Grid Holding, in 2013. The asset manager increased its stake in 2015 and again in 2019, when it formed a partnership with British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Allianz to acquire 100% of CGH.

Will Price, the head of EMEA utilities at Macquarie Asset Management, said: “GasNet is a critical component of the Czech Republic’s energy system. We are very proud to have supported the business for more than a decade, during which it has invested heavily to develop the network and significantly improved its operational and safety performance.

“As Europe’s energy landscape continues to evolve, it’s important that its infrastructure facilitates decarbonisation goals while remaining safe, reliable and affordable.”

Macquarie, a long-term investor in the Czech Republic, and through its funds is currently invested in EP Infrastructure, a portfolio of regulated and contracted infrastructure assets in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. 

The manager was previously invested in telecommunications firm České Radiokomunikace, which was sold to Cordiant Digital Infrastructure in May 2021.

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