Ontario Teachers bids for SSE networks stake – report

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board is emerging as a frontrunner to acquire a stake in SSE’s multibillion-pound electricity networks, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Canadian pension fund is negotiating terms of a deal to invest in SSE’s transmission and distribution grid assets, with several other infrastructure investors that were previously pursuing a deal no longer in the running, the report said.

Perth-based SSE said in November last year it plans to sell about 25% of its transmission and distribution grid units to help fund an increase in spending on net-zero infrastructure.

The assets could be valued at more than £10 billion ($12 billion) in any deal, Bloomberg News has reported.

The stake sale is part of a strategic plan unveiled by SSE after it rejected a proposal from activist investor Elliott Investment Management to split the company in two by separating the renewables business.

Bloomberg reported that while discussions are at an advanced stage, there is no certainty they will reach an agreement, and another buyer could still emerge.

Ontario Teachers and SSE declined to comment.

A consortium backed by Ontario Teachers and Brookfield Super-Core Infrastructure Partners agreed last year to buy SSE’s remaining stake in Scotia Gas Networks Ltd (SGN) for £1.2 billion.

Ontario Teachers was also previously a shareholder in SSE’s smart meter venture, which was eventually sold to Equitix.