BlackRock Real Assets and GIC have agreed to buy Kellas Midstream from Antin Infrastructure, according to a joint statement seen by Inframation about the sale.
Sources close to the process said that the agreement took place last Friday (8 November) following bilateral talks between the parties. Kellas’ existing debt, which was refinanced earlier this year, is being ported across to the prospective owners, the sources added. The sale price and also the equity split between the two investors are not known.
Kellas’ main asset is a large gas network in the North Sea called the Central Area Transmission System (CATS) serving over 30 gas fields. Antin acquired a 63% stake in CATS from BG – now Shell – in 2014 for GBP 523m and a deferred amount of GBP 39m, and a further 36% also from BG in 2015 for GBP 324m.
The manager later extended CATS to more gas fields and acquired the North Sea pipeline Esmond Transportation System. It also began development of new infrastructure called the Humber Gathering System for the Tolmount gas field in the southern North Sea.
Antin hired Citi and BAML as its financial advisors in the summer and were said by sources familiar to be preparing to auction the asset. A likely bidder in such an auction would have been North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP), which like Kellas owns gas pipelines and terminals in the North Sea.
In buying a stake in Kellas GIC will bolster its already significant presence in the global gas market – not least in the North Sea. In February this year it was among investors that acquired a minority stake in NSMP from Wren House, the Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund, as part of an equity syndication. The Singaporean sovereign wealth fund also bid with Partners Group for NSMP when it was put up for sale last year by US energy investor Arclight Capital Partners. GIC also owns a stake in TIGF, a French gas transport and storage business as well as gas-related interests in North America.