Ørsted has signed an agreement to divest a 50% ownership stake in its 1.3 GW Hornsea 2 Offshore Wind Farm in the U.K. to a consortium comprising AXA IM Alts, acting on behalf of clients, and Crédit Agricole Assurances.

Hornsea 2 is currently under construction and will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm once commissioned later in 2022. The total value of the transaction is GBP 3 billion, and the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022 once the wind farm is fully commissioned and customary regulatory approvals are obtained.

“We’re delighted to partner with AXA IM Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances, two world-leading financial institutions, which are committed to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy in line with the Paris Agreement – thereby supporting the urgently needed shift from fossil-based to renewable energy sources,” says Martin Neubert, chief commercial officer and deputy group CEO at Ørsted.

AXA IM Alts and Crédit Agricole Assurances will then each own 25% of the project. The investors’ 50% stake in Hornsea 2 will be funded through a combination of equity and a senior multi-tranche staple financing package provided by 30 banks and including a covered tranche guaranteed by EKF, Denmark’s export credit agency. The financing package was originated and structured by Ørsted.

“Our investment strategy is all about decarbonization, electrification, and digitalization,” states Mark Gilligan, head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM Alts. “These are central to the energy transition. Hornsea 2 allows us to play an important role in decarbonizing and electrifying the United Kingdom. This landmark transaction aligns with our aim of acquiring, for our clients, utility-scale low-carbon essential businesses and being a long-term partner of choice for outstanding operators like Ørsted.”

Hornsea 2 is located 89 km off the Yorkshire coast in the Hornsea zone, one of the world’s largest offshore wind development areas. With a capacity of 1.3 GW, Hornsea 2 will provide enough green electricity to power the equivalent of more than 1.3 million homes annually. Hornsea 2 is a key project supporting the U.K. government’s objective of achieving 40 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

“We’re proud to announce this new partnership in favor of the energy transition,” comments Philippe Dumont, CEO of Crédit Agricole Assurances. “This investment in Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, is fully in line with Crédit Agricole Group’s climate commitments. This operation will also contribute to Crédit Agricole Assurances’ objectives to double its investments in renewable energies and reach an 11 GW installed capacity by 2025.”

Ørsted is finalizing the construction of the project and will provide long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) services for 20 years from its O&M base at the Port of Grimsby. Furthermore, Ørsted will provide the incoming partners with balancing services and a long-term route to market for the renewable electricity generated from Hornsea 2.

“Ørsted has invested more than GBP 14 billion in the U.K. to date, and when Hornsea 2 becomes fully operational later this year, our wind farms will be supplying over 7 percent of Britain’s electricity,” mentions Duncan Clark, Ørsted’s head of region U.K. “We’re now focused on helping the U.K. deliver on its 40 GW and Sector Deal target for offshore wind by 2030, a significant milestone in the energy transition that will deliver more than GBP 60 billion of investment for the U.K. while supporting the U.K.’s world-class offshore wind supply chain and more than 40,000 jobs over the next few years.”

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