SSE sells 25% stake in transmission business for £1.465bn

SSE has reached agreement to sell a 25% minority stake in its electricity transmission network business, SSEN Transmission - to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’).

The transaction is based on an effective economic date of 31 March 2022, and total cash proceeds of £1,465m for the 25% stake are expected at completion. The transaction is expected to complete shortly.

As at 31 March 2022, SSEN Transmission had a RAV of £4,155m (with RAV at 31 March 2023 forecast to be almost £5bn) and net debt and debt-like items of £2,488m, including £780m of SSE shareholder loans. These shareholder loans to SSEN Transmission will remain in place and are expected to be replaced with external debt as they mature.

SSE stated SSEN Transmission’s RIIO-T2 baseline investment case of circa £2.6bn (the ‘Certain View’), together with further investments expected to be unlocked through Ofgem’s Uncertainty Mechanisms, is forecast to deliver gross RAV of £6.5-£7.0bn by 2026.  Longer term, subject to projects progressing through planning and regulation, SSE expects SSEN Transmission’s gross RAV to exceed £12bn by 2031.  This growth is expected to be supported by the publication of Ofgem’s Accelerated Strategic Transmission Investment framework later this year and the Electricity System Operator’s Holistic Network Design Follow Up Exercise which is expected to be published in spring next year.

The sale of a minority stake will allow SSE as the majority shareholder to retain control in relation to operating and managing the business, with Ontario Teachers’ to be proportionately represented on SSEN Transmission’s Board of Directors.  SSE’s Finance Director Gregor Alexander will be Chair of this new Board and Rob McDonald will continue in his role as Managing Director for SSEN Transmission, along with other key members of SSEN Transmission’s Leadership Team.

To help cover the future long term funding requirements and the working capital of SSEN Transmission, and as referenced in SSE’s 2022/23 Interim Results, a new £750m revolving credit facility has been put in place.

"We are delighted to agree a transaction that will help unlock the full potential of our growing electricity transmission business, which remains core to our strategic direction as a clean energy champion specialising in electricity infrastructure." said Gregor Alexander, Finance Director, SSE.

Gregor continued: “As we set out in our Net Zero Acceleration Programme last year, due to the scale of potential growth and the associated investment required across SSE’s businesses, including in electricity networks, bringing in minority partners will balance capital allocation and support further growth, creating greater long-term value for all our stakeholders.

“In Ontario Teachers’ we have a strong long-term partner who we have worked with successfully over the past 18 years and, whilst we will retain operational control, they will be critical to SSEN Transmission’s ongoing future success.”

Rob McDonald, Managing Director of SSEN Transmission, said: “With the north of Scotland home to the UK’s greatest resources of renewable electricity we have a critical role to play in helping deliver the UK and Scottish Governments net zero commitments.  Our investments will also be key to securing the UK’s future energy independence through enabling the deployment of homegrown, affordable, low carbon power.

“With significant growth forecast in transmission, bringing in Ontario Teachers’ as a minority stake partner will help fund our ambitious investment plans as we continue to deliver a network for net zero emissions across the north of Scotland.”

Charles Thomazi, Head of EMEA Infrastructure & Natural Resources at Ontario Teachers’, said: “SSEN Transmission is one of Europe’s fastest growing transmission networks. Its network stretches across some of the most challenging terrain in Scotland – from the North Sea and across the Highlands – to deliver safe, reliable, renewable energy to demand centres across the UK.

“We’re delighted to partner again with SSE and are committed to supporting the growth of its network and the vital role it plays in the UK’s green energy revolution.”

In the 12 months to 31 March 2022, SSEN Transmission made an adjusted operating profit of £380.9m, with reported pre-tax profit of £329.8m. At 30 September 2022, SSEN Transmission had gross assets of £4,716.1m and net assets of £2,242.8m.