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EBM, sbo and UBS-CEIS jointly acquire the majority holding in AVAG from Alpiq

Joint press release by EMB, sbo and UBS-CEIS. EBM (Genossenschaft Elektra Birseck), based in Münchenstein, canton of Basel-Landschaft, Städtischen Betriebe Olten (sbo) and UBS Clean Energy Infrastructure Switzerland (UBS-CEIS) are jointly acquiring the stake in AVAG (Alpiq Versorgungs AG) offered for sale by Alpiq at a price of CHF 312 million. This gives the three partners in the consortium a 96.7% holding in the energy utility, which operates in the Greater Olten area. The remaining 3.3% of the shares will continue to be held by 14 concession granting local authorities in AVAG. Together with AVAG and a.en (Aare Energie AG), the new owners will continue to ensure a secure, reliable and cost-effective energy supply, with a strong regional base.

EBM, AVAG, the operating company a.en and sbo are linked by years of successful cooperation, including operating supraregional grids. Together, the companies already provide major parts of the canton of Solothurn with a secure electrical supply. The new ownership structure is a win-win situation for electricity customers in the Olten region, the partners and the owners. AVAG, sbo and a-en will continue solidly based in the Olten region, maintaining the established smooth-running supply of electricity, gas and water to around 30,000 customers in 18 local authorities. With a view to complete market opening, efficiency gains are possible, as synergies and economies of scale can be exploited, particularly in the elaborate IT systems.

Ernst Zingg, Chairman of the Board of Directors at sbo, is confident about the future of the new partnership. “We can create a genuine win-win situation, and optimise the strengths of one of Switzerland’s biggest utilities to the benefit of our customers, the local authorities, the employees and the owners.”

Together with AVAG, Conrad Amman, EBM’s CEO, sees many opportunities: “AVAG is a successful and well-managed utility company, and is a gain for us. Cooperation offers enormous opportunities, as together we will achieve an important critical mass. The goal is to utilise existing systems and infrastructures optimally and cost-effectively.”

“For our Swiss institutional investors, this is a financial commitment to the well-positioned and locally firmly embedded AVAG, together with two experienced and prominent energy utilities, an interesting supplement to the existing investment portfolio," add Beat Huber, partner and CIO of Fontavis, and Didier Jeanrenaud, head of UBS-CEIS.

With AVAG, EMB is taking an important step towards its strategic growth target in its core business. UBS-CEIS is also a financial investor with solid knowledge of the energy industry, and a long term interest in the further evolution of AVAG. EBM now holds a majority of the 96.7% stake in AVAG, with an internal share of around 67%. UBS-CEIS is taking over around 28%, and sbo some 5% of the AVAG stake. The transaction is subject to official approval.

Future plans
EBM, sbo and UBS-CEIS intend to continue the successful cooperation with AVAG and a.en as a long-term and market-oriented venture at the present locations. This will also benefit customers. The new, joint grid alliance covers much of the canton of Basel-Landschaft and part of Alsace. In addition, AVAG together with a.en, sbo and EBM will form an entity with strong supraregional roots which further grid owners and operators will be able to connect with in future.

 

 

EBM
EBM has been internationally active in the energy sector since 1897 as a cooperative under private law. We offer our customers products that meet their needs reliably, and promote renewable energies and energy efficiency in the areas of the grid, electricity supply and district heating supply. We currently supply energy to over 235,000 private individuals and numerous businesses. Our traditional home market comprises 60 local authorities in the cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Solothurn and in Alsace. As leading suppliers of district heating, EBM operates 223 heating plants in Switzerland and Alsace. We seek to remain faithful to our vision by constantly developing EBM as a modern, customer-focused and cost-efficient utility company. In short, we – along with our 400 employees and 15 trainees – are entirely at home with energy, and have been since 1897. www.ebm.ch

sbo
Städtischen Betriebe Olten (sbo) is an autonomous company under public law owned by the city of Olten, active in the electricity, gas, heat and water sectors. sbo is responsible for the electricity supply in the city of Olten, provides a reliable water supply to Olten and four other local authorities, and operates a regional gas utility, supplying 18 local authorities directly and 12 more indirectly. Together with its partner AVAG, sbo has been operated and managed since 2002 by Aare Energie AG (a.en), a joint venture of AVAG and sbo.

UBS-CEIS
UBS Clean Energy Infrastructure Switzerland, limited partnership for collective capital investment, is a collective investment solution for institutional investors in Switzerland, advised by Fontavis AG . Since its launch in January 2013, 36 Swiss pension funds and insurance companies with capital of around CHF 400 million have bought into this fund. It invests in companies and plants that produce renewable energies, provide infrastructure or improve energy efficiency. Currently, the portfolio includes equity holdings and financing for 12 Swiss companies. www.ubs.com/ceis
Contact: UBS Media Office, Tel. +41 44 234 8500, mediarelations@ubs.com

FONTAVIS
Fontavis is an independent investment manager specialising in clean energy and infrastructure, primarily in Switzerland. It invests on behalf of pension funds, insurance companies, funds and other institutional investors in companies and plants that produce renewable energy, provide energy infrastructure or improve energy efficiency. As investment adviser to UBS-CEIS, the first Swiss renewable energy and infrastructure fund, it is responsible for identifying, reviewing and managing all UBS-CEIS investments. www.fontavis.ch
Contact: Media office,Tel. +41 41 545 4100, info@fontavis.ch

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