SNC-Lavalin announced Thursday that it is selling AltaLink — Alberta's largest regulated electricity transmission company — to a subsidiary of the holding company run by U.S. financier Warren Buffett for gross proceeds of $3.2 billion.
The deal with Berkshire Hathaway Energy, owned by Bershire Hathaway Inc., is expected to close Dec. 31 and represents what the Montreal-based engineering giant says is "another significant step" in its strategic plan to unlock and create value from its portfolio of infrastructure concession investments.
AltaLink owns more than half of Alberta's transmission grid, some 12,000 kilometres of transmission lines, as well as 280 substations and delivers electricity to about 85 per cent of the province's population.
"After a robust process that drew considerable interest, we are very pleased to announce a transaction that recognizes significant value for AltaLink — a unique regulated asset in a high-growth electricity market — while also providing for a continued relationship with SNC-Lavalin," president and CEO Robert Card said in a statement announcing the deal after markets closed.
"I would like to thank AltaLink's employees, who have helped make their company so successful. I know they will have a bright future and benefit from enhanced career opportunities as part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy," Card added.
"The sale of AltaLink will help us build value for our company by providing opportunities to advance our E&C (engineering and construction) growth strategy."
Sale subject to regulatory approvals
Meanwhile, SNC and MidAmerican Transmission, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, have also mutually agreed to develop engineering, procurement and construction opportunities in the United States and Canada.
"The agreement combines the engineering and construction management strengths of SNC-Lavalin with the strong track record of MidAmerican Transmission on joint transmission projects with other entities," SNC said.
Completion of the sale is subject to customary regulatory approvals, including approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission and approvals pursuant to the Competition Act and Investment Canada Act, which requires that deals of this size involving foreign buyers are of net benefit to Canada.
Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, with assets of some $70 billion, owns and operates some 284,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines. Its subsidiary, MidAmerican Transmission, owns transmission lines throughout the U.S. and Canada.
SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and is a major player in the ownership of infrastructure and in the provision of operations and maintenance services.