North America: Macquarie agrees to buy Wheelabrator

02 October 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

A Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA)-managed fund has agreed to buy the waste-to-energy facilities specialist Wheelabrator Technologies for an undisclosed sum from Energy Capital Partners.

The deal was signed last week by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners (MIP) on Tuesday (2 October), following the US private equity fund’s launch of a dual-track sale process earlier this year. 

The US’ second largest waste-to-energy business provides municipal waste disposal and renewable energy for homes and businesses, with 26 assets in the US and UK, including 19 waste-to-energy facilities, with three under construction, three independent power plants and four ash mono-fills.

Credit Suisse and UBS Investment Bank were financial advisors to Wheelabrator on the sale with Latham & Watkins LLP as legal counsel. 

DC Advisory, Greentech Capital Advisors, and RBC Capital Markets were financial advisors to MIP and Kirkland & Ellis its legal advisors. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal counsel to MIRA. 

The transaction is subject to approval from the US’ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Committee on Foreign Investment and Federal

Communications Commission, as well as New Jersey’s environmental protection department. It is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

Robert Boucher, president & CEO of Wheelabrator, said the transatlantic business under Energy Capital has developed a pipeline of waste-to-energy projects in the UK.

The deal follows Energy Capital’s move in 2017 to explore a sale of Wheelabrator via an auction, code-named Project Granite, which was run by Barclays. 

Finalists in last year’s auction included Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and Partners Group, as previously reported. 

Instead of selling the company, Energy Capital, repriced Wheelabrator’s USD 1.21bn term loan B credit facility, in a deal led by Deutsche Bank. 

The B loan was repriced earlier this and amended to allow the financing to become “portable” to a new owner.

Wheelabrator has an annual waste processing capacity of over 8 million tons, and a total combined electric generating capacity of 782MW.

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