BY Richard Summerfield
Global M&A activity in the power and utilities sector reached a record high of $180bn in the first half of 2018, according to EY’s ‘Power transactions and trends Q2 2018’ report.
Renewables were responsible for nearly half of all deals announced in the second quarter, with 63 contracts totalling $12.9bn announced.
Despite the all-time high in M&A activity, there was a 14 percent decline, quarter-on-quarter, in deal value to $83bn, however.
Momentum also began to gather in the clear energy space .The European Union’s landmark agreement to achieve 32 percent renewable energy consumption by 2030 was particularly noteworthy. Equally, three other renewables deals in the US were announced, totalling $3.8bn.
Developing markets also emerged as an investment destination for traditional M&A. Thailand and India saw $5.3bn and $3.2bn worth of deals respectively. In Estonia, deals by both domestic and foreign investors reached $600m.
European activity was strong, particularly in the second quarter, with $45.7bn worth of deals recorded, representing 55 percent of total power and utility global deal value. Asia-Pacific saw a 78 percent quarter-on-quarter increase in deal value to $10.3bn. Renewables were the driving force behind this increase, with 25 clean energy deals worth a total of $3.8bn announced during the period.
The majority of transactions in Q2 were in the US, which generated 75 percent of the total deal value for the quarter, of which $21.1bn or 78 percent were domestic deals. Consolidation was a major driving force. For example, Center Point Energy bid $8.1bn for Vectren and NextEra Energy's bid $5.8bn bid for Gulf Power.
“The first half of 2018 reflects a complex deal environment characterised by a changing generation mix and a growing appetite for renewables investment, which will continue to drive the deal agenda into the second half of the year,” said Miles Huq, EY global power & utilities transactions leader.
He added: “Around the world, we are also seeing utilities companies increasingly exploring new technologies, including battery storage, electric vehicle infrastructure and digital grid technologies. With sector convergence on the rise, we are also seeing more non-conventional competitors emerge as the power and utilities landscape continues to undergo transformation.”
Global outbound deal activity was led by China, which accounted for $31.2bn of cross-border energy deals, including the largest deal of the quarter: the $27.4bn takeover bid of Portugal's EDP by China Three Gorges.