First State's EDIF acquires grid network in Germany from E.ON and VNG

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First State's EDIF acquires grid network in Germany from E.ON and VNG

The First State European Diversified Infrastructure Fund (EDIF) managed by First State Investments, the asset management arm of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, has acquired 100% of Erdgasversorgungsgesellschaft Thüringen-Sachsen mbH (EVG) from E.ON and VNG – Verbundnetz Gas Aktiengesellschaft (VNG) in Germany.

E.ON and VNG have sold their 50-percent stakes in the company to the fund.

EVG owns the gas grid operated by Erdgastransportgesellschaft Thüringen-Sachsen mbH (ETG). EVG is the holding company for ETG and also owns minority stakes in several energy suppliers and service providers. EVG was founded on April 10, 1990, before Germany’s economic and currency union. The former Ruhrgas AG and VNG each took 50-percent stakes in the new company, whose mission was to establish a region-wide gas supply business in the German state of Thuringia and surrounding areas.

The sale is part of E.ON and VNG’s ongoing strategy of optimizing their business portfolios.

In 2013 EDIF acquired E.ON’s Nuremberg-based regional gas grid Ferngas Nordbayern GmbH. The sale is subject to antitrust approval. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office is expected to issue its decision in the next few weeks.

First State also led a consortium which acquired the local power distribution grid of Finnish utility Fortum for €2.55 billion.

VNG, E.ON, and First State Investments agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

EDIF is a 15-year, closed-ended fund with a €1.5 billionn target size. The fund’s investment focus is on mature, income-generating infrastructure assets in the utilities, transportation and essential services sectors which can offer attractive risk-adjusted returns.

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