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    Sempra sells stake in North Am LNG business for $1.8bn

Summary

The transaction includes a stake in the Energia Costa Azul LNG export project in Mexico's Baja California region.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Sempra sells stake in North Am LNG business for $1.8bn

Sempra announced on December 22 it had sold a 10% stake in Sempra Infrastructure Partners, which manages the group's North American LNG assets, to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for some $1.785bn.

The transaction places Sempra Infrastructure's overall value at $26.5bn, including some $8.6bn in asset-related debt. It comes two months after Sempra divested a 20% interest in Sempra Infrastructure to US investment firm KKR for $3.38bn.

Sempra Infrastructure's business includes the Energia Costa Azul (ECA) LNG export project in Mexico's Baja California region, as well as the Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana, and gas pipeline and renewable energy assets.

Sempra took a final investment decision on ECA's 3.25mn mt/yr first phase in November 2020, representing the only sanctioning of new liquefaction capacity in that year. The terminal provides an outlet for US gas to be delivered to Asian markets without having to pass through the Suez Canal. It is expected to start up in 2024.

Bringing on board ADIA as an investor will help Sempra "build out a growth platform with an increasingly global capability," the US company's CEO Jeffrey Martin said in a statement.

"The timing of the transaction is attractive because it allows us to efficiently rotate capital into a growing set of investment opportunities at our utilities and return capital to our owners in the form of share repurchases," he continued. "This transaction allows us to do both, while also supporting our balance sheet."

Sempra said it will repurchase $500mn of its stock using some of the proceeds. 

"At ADIA, we see tremendous opportunity in the ongoing transformation of global energy markets," the UAE agency's director of retail estate and infrastructure, Khadem Al Remaithi commented. "In North America, few businesses are as well positioned as Sempra Infrastructure to build the new energy systems for the 21st century."