Today, Emera (TSX: EMA) announced that it will acquire a 38% interest in Light & Power Holdings Ltd. (Barbados Stock Exchange: “LPH”) from Leucadia National Corporation (“Leucadia”). Under the terms of the agreement with Leucadia, Emera will acquire the interest from Leucadia for US $85million.
LPH is the parent company of The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited. (BLPC) BLPC is the sole utility operator on the island of Barbados, serving 120,000 customers. BLPC has three power generation stations consisting of 239 MW of installed capacity. There is a regulatory regime on the island that allows a full fuel pass through mechanism.
“This acquisition is an exciting next step in our Caribbean growth strategy as we begin to build scale in the region,” said Chris Huskilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emera Inc. “BLPC is consistently ranked as one of the top-performing electric utilities in the Caribbean for efficiency, performance, and rate structure.”
The Board of LPH has said that “they welcome the investment of Emera” and that “the combined knowledge and experience of Emera and LPH in the electric utility business will maintain and enhance the technical strength and future prospects of BLPC for the continued benefit of electricity customers in Barbados”.
This 38% investment will make Emera the largest single shareholder of LPH. Approximately 62% of LPH is locally held by 2,700 Barbadian shareholders, including the National Insurance Board of Barbados, which owns 23%.
LPH is Emera’s third investment in the Caribbean. This follows a 19% investment in St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (Lucelec), a vertically-integrated monopoly utility on the island of St. Lucia, and a 25% indirect interest in Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC), a vertically-integrated electric utility on the Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter and is not subject to regulatory approval. This transaction will be financed with existing credit facilities and is expected to be immediately accretive.
Barbados is the most eastern island in the Caribbean, with a population of approximately 285,000. The government is a parliamentary democracy and the legal system is based on English common law. Canada enjoys a strong working relationship with Barbados, and Canadian companies make up approximately 75% of the international financial community on the island. Barbados enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region, and tourism is the main economic activity.