Ascendant Sign Agreement To Sell Company

June 3, 2019 | 53 Comments

[Updated: Ascendant, the parent company of BELCO, confirmed they have signed an agreement with Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp to “sell the Company subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals," while a statement from Algonquin — which lists its head office in Ontario, Canada — said that under the terms of the all-cash transaction, "Ascendant’s shareholders will receive U.S. $36.00 per common share, representing an aggregate share purchase price of approximately U.S. $365 million.”]

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At the request of Ascendant Group Limited – which is the parent company of BELCO – the Bermuda Stock Exchange [BSX] has suspended trading of Ascendant’s common shares pending an announcement by the Company.

In January of this year the company suspended trading pending an announcement they would be evaluating a “potential sale,” and in April they suspended trading again pending an announcement that they “decided to invite a select group of globally-respected firms to each submit a definitive proposal to purchase the Company.”

What the announcement is is unclear, however we will update as able.

Update 10.16am: Ascendant confirm that they have signed an agreement with Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp to “sell the Company subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.”

The statement said, “The Board of Directors of Ascendant Group Limited announced today that they have reached a decision in their review of the Company’s strategic alternatives.

“Following a robust assessment process, they have signed an agreement with Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. and its affiliates to sell the Company subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. Algonquin’s proposal offers Ascendant shareholders $36.00 per share, all cash to be paid on closing of the transaction which is expected in the second half of 2019.

“Algonquin has the capital resources, operational knowledge and experience in technological innovation necessary to advance the Company’s efforts to introduce renewable energy and meet future challenges that will benefit the community as a whole.

“Algonquin is an established renewable energy and utility group, with North American assets in excess of $10 billion. They currently own and operate 54 energy facilities, of which approximately 90% are renewable.

“Algonquin’s proposal has put front and centre the needs of all of our stakeholders and they have made the following commitments:

  • “They will continue to run all of the Ascendant companies locally and will keep the employee base Bermudian, with the current Bermudian executive management team leading the Company. They will introduce advanced training opportunities, both locally and overseas. The Company will continue initiatives such as the voluntary early retirement programme but is committed to no Company-initiated job cuts.
  • “They will support BELCO in its collaboration with the Regulatory Authority in shaping and implementing the Integrated Resource Plan [IRP] for Bermuda.
  • “Algonquin has a commitment to sustainability and leadership in renewable energy and storage development that can be leveraged to help Bermuda achieve a greener and less carbon-intensive future. Integration of additional low-cost renewable energy into BELCO’s supply mix is expected to contribute to lower energy costs.
  • “For Bermuda, Algonquin has committed to introducing modern energy technologies and will look to accelerate the introduction of renewables, conservation, and battery storage for the island.

“This includes innovative customer offerings involving these technologies. The introduction of these renewable technologies is expected to create new jobs for Bermudians in this exciting new field, in addition to the relocation of existing corporate functions to Bermuda.

“The current Board has provided the strategy that has brought Ascendant this far. We have laid the foundation for reliably powering Bermuda in cleaner, more efficient, and more cost-effective ways. Algonquin will bring the knowledge, the experience and the capital necessary to carry Ascendant into the future.

“All parties will work diligently to obtain all necessary approvals so the transition can happen in a timely manner to minimise any disruption to our companies, employees and our customers,” the statement from Ascendant concluded.

According to Algonquin’s website, they are a “North American diversified generation, transmission and distribution utility with $10 billion of total assets.”

Update 10.42am: A statement from Algonquin — which lists its head office in Ontario, Canada — said that Algonquin “announced the execution of an implementation agreement with the Ascendant Group Limited pursuant to which APUC’s international power and utilities investment platform, AAGES, is expected to acquire Ascendant and its subsidiaries.

“Ascendant, through its major subsidiary, Bermuda Electric Light Company, is the sole electric utility providing safe and reliable regulated electrical generation, transmission and distribution services to Bermuda.

“Under the terms of the all-cash transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each company, Ascendant’s shareholders will receive U.S. $36.00 per common share, representing an aggregate share purchase price of approximately U.S. $365 million.”

“The acquisition of Bermuda Electric Light Company builds materially on our international growth program through the addition of this high-quality utility, an acquisition which will be immediately accretive to earnings,” said Ian Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of APUC.

“In addition to Ascendant customer and employee benefits coming from the scale of our existing utility operations, we are confident that our demonstrated capability in renewable energy development can help Bermuda realize on its carbon reduction aspirations.”

The company added, “APUC will work closely with the Bermuda Government and the Regulatory Authority to ensure a seamless transition so that the residents and businesses of Bermuda will continue to receive the same safe, reliable and cost effective utility service that they currently enjoy.

“APUC is committed to maintaining the existing local management and operations teams. Customers should not expect any impact to rates from the acquisition. AAGES’ project implementation experience is available to support the major generation rehabilitation program underway at Ascendant and help accelerate Bermuda’s commitment to reducing carbon intensity.”

Update 4.30pm: An RA spokesperson said, “The Regulatory Authority understand that Ascendant, [the parent company of BELCO], has signed an agreement to be sold to the Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation.

“As the RA regulates BELCO, we will evaluate the proposed change of control of BELCO in accordance with the provisions of applicable legislation and any Ministerial directions. The next step in the process, from the RA’s perspective, will be for BELCO to submit a formal application for a change of control, so that the RA can make an informed decision.”

Update 5.07pm: Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban said, “I note the announcement around the sale of Ascendant Group Limited today. There are considerable steps before this is finalized.

“I am confident that once an application is made to the Regulatory Authority there will be a robust review, to determine that Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation has a strategy that is in line with the IRP and this Government’s commitment to drive down energy costs for the Bermuda public and ensure a more affordable and sustainable energy future for the island.”

Update June 4, 10.20am: The BSX said, “The Bermuda Stock Exchange has ended the voluntary suspension, with immediate effect, of the trading of the common shares of Ascendant Group Limited.”

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  1. sage says:

    We might as well become the 11th Province.

  2. inna says:

    Uh oh Burt, more of those Canadians!!!

    • sandgrownan says:

      LOL…

      Well, blame Canada, blame Canada
      It seems that everything’s gone wrong
      Since Canada came alongBlame Canada, blame Canada
      There not even a real country anyway

  3. Ringmaster says:

    I guess the Peoples Campaign and the Rev will be marching down Serpentine Road soon to protest the sale to a Canadian company. After all the airport does revert back to Bermuda in 30 years, whereas BELCO is a sale and gone deal. Or is this different because the PLP have allowed it?

    • LOL says:

      I guess your obaUBPEEEEee is desperate so they need bloggers such as you.
      Take this back to the UBP boys they will not win the next election. I was a swing voter but trust me the swing voters are not voting for no UBP party again. Now write that because it’s not fake news. LOL

    • Say Whaat!?! says:

      Bermuda taxpayers don’t have to pay for this deal. That’s why it’s different.

      • Come Correct says:

        How much did the airport cost the taxpayer.

      • Onion says:

        Who do you think pays Ascendant?

      • Onion says:

        Bermuda taxpayers don’t pay for the Airport either, airport users do.

      • Realist says:

        Really? Who pays for our electricity? Those same taxpayers, I am sure…

      • question says:

        what are you talking about…the hospital wing? Grand Atlantic? Returfing the golf course? The $24m swimming pool? The $15m emissions testing facility?

  4. Onion Peels says:

    if we did we’d have legal marijuana, universal health care and cheaper university fees.

    • sage says:

      Now you’re talking, let’s get on with it then, “Oh Canada…”

      • aceboy says:

        Oh Ber-muda!
        Our home and native land
        True patriot love
        In all we byes command!

        Lol

        Good time to invest in an ice rink! Ehbye!

    • sandgrownan says:

      But you’d be forced to eat Maple Syrup and Tim Bits.

    • Portia says:

      and 40% income tax.

  5. Wrong says:

    The Canadians now have our airport and now our power grid!! They can bring Bermuda to its knees!!! PLP this is a sovereign attack on Bermuda!!! Stop them!!!

    • Double S says:

      And stop them from allowing our children from attending their universities!!!

      Damn Canadians!!!

    • truthertz says:

      Wait to you find out who holds the vast majority of our $2.5bn debt…xenophobe.

    • Say Whaat!?! says:

      And the OBA are grinning that their plan worked. Michael Fahy is not gone after all.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Wha? It’s a publically traded company, and it’s up for sale.

      Sovereign attack? What are you smoking?

    • Berlinda says:

      Canada should stop subsidizing bermudians who go to school in Canada. Bermudians are greedy and ungrateful…just look at this thread!

  6. Wow says:

    That was always the goal of the Canadian CEO or whatever they call him listed as now.

    The board and shareholders have been Seduced by big payouts and the impact of the manipulation will be felt for generations to come.

  7. The great people’s party have ruined this island. It gets worse day by day. Can you imagine if this was what the OBA were doing. There would be marches and sit outs every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally someone not blinded by PLP rhetoric. The PLP are destroying this country and then running to us to pay for it by slamming us with higher taxes.

  8. The Canadians here have got to be ecstatic. They must treat people respectfully. One human being is EQUAL to another. Respect, Canadians. We are born similarly AND we all die and are buried UNDERGROUND.
    Quit the senseless, foolish “superiority complex”. You OWN it. Sell it and become a HUMAN BEING!!All of you would integrate and assimlate better into Bermudian society!!

    • bluenose says:

      What on earth are you going on about? smdh

    • question says:

      Are you seriously celebrating equality? Do you not read the newspapers in Bermuda? The money wasted by the Bda government on lawsuits designed to restrict human rights and reduce equality?

    • Clueless leadership says:

      Lay off the weed dude

    • Mike Hind says:

      This? From you? An avid an relentless anti-equality advocate?

      Seriously?

  9. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    I was wondering why the power went out for an hour and a half last night up west. 8pm. Any idea why?

  10. ROBERT STEWART says:

    This is good news, not only for shareholders but for Bermuda. Ascendant in its current form is a huge risk for Bermuda residents.

    The new owner can bring new technology and innovative management.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *The new owner can bring new technology and innovative management.*

      True , and hopefully lower energy costs , but they’re still them stinkin’ Canadians . (runs around in ever diminishing circles waving hands in the air .. lol)

      • Berlinda says:

        “but they’re still them stinkin’ Canadians ”

        By ‘stinkin’, you mean educated….you are a sad lot.

    • J P Hurley says:

      So was HSBC purchasing Bank of Bermuda… I doubt it very much other than for shareholders looking to profit from the deal. This is all about Wall St (or in this case Bay St and very little to with Serpentine Rd or Front St or Friswell’s Hill…

    • ROGER LAMBERT says:

      Mr. Stewart, this purchase of a “national” company will be a learning experience for many of us. How the Shares will go is high on the agenda. A $36 Shares figure is said now, but will it be that at Closure time? I read they deal with renewable energy so agree with possibilities of new technology comment, maybe like Wave or Wind Power along with Solar. Ascendant just brought in those new generators. How much of Bermuda will they power? How does that affect renewable energy by the Alonquin group? If You can help me, appreciated.

  11. Chauncey says:

    Why not? Canadians are English, French, Chinese, and practically every others. Why not some Bermudians? Might save our backsides!

  12. puzzled says:

    So pessimistic yoo lott.

    Bermudians are selling out; and getting out you fools.

  13. Jah says:

    Truth be told Bermuda companies are better owned and or managed by outsiders as we cant even get a bus schedule up and running

  14. frank says:

    here we go again another Bermuda company being taken over just like BTC was taken over by the Irishman
    when you look all the Bermudian staff will be made redundant in 3 years

  15. Mark says:

    Wow – look at all the numpty Pee El Peer’s who are afraid Canada is taking over. Don’t worry yourselves, Canada is a racially diverse country with tolerance for all – Bermuda would be like a cancer in their system so fears they’d want this Fourth World rock.

  16. aceboy says:

    I was up at the airport on Saturday. The new one is almost complete and looks great. On schedule and on budget. A far cry from the big PLP projects!

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