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Ascendant sale approved

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The sale of the holding company of power firm Belco is on the verge of being completed after regulators approved the change of control.

A spokesman for Ascendant, parent of Belco and several other companies, said the green light from the Regulatory Authority was required to complete the sale of Ascendant to the Canadian-based Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation.

The sale remains subject to further approvals, but Ascendant claimed completion would result in $200 million being injected into the country's economy.

A spokesman for Ascendant said: “Once all approvals are granted, final matters are expected to be completed within the coming weeks.”

The spokesman added: “The Bermuda Stock Exchange has been advised of the approval from the RA and the trading in Ascendant shares has been suspended.

“Ascendant's board of directors is confident that the sale to Algonquin will ensure its customers and Bermuda are well served with reliable power generation that will be cleaner, more efficient and more cost-effective.

“Algonquin will bring the knowledge, experience and capital necessary to carry Ascendant into the future and this will benefit all stakeholders — employees, customers, and shareholders.”

Ascendant said the change of ownership would also mean “fair and stable” pricing for customers and operational savings of $5 million.

Algonquin has also committed to an investment $300 million in renewable energy on the island, if the takeover is allowed, to help Bermuda towards its goal of 85 per cent clean power.

Peter Durhager, the chairman of the Ascendant board of directors, spoke last year about what approvals would be needed for the sale to go ahead.

He said the problem of the 60:40 rule in favour of on-island ownership would have to be examined.

He added: “The government regulators, in this case the Ministry of Finance, the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Regulatory Authority, will have to get involved.

“Certainly the BMA and the Ministry of Finance will be making a determination to issue a licence to any non-Bermudian owner that would own more than the relevant portion.”

Trading of Ascendant shares on the BSX was suspended yesterday at the request of the company.

Algonquin is a renewable energy and utility group with North American assets of more than $10 billion.

It owns and operates 54 energy facilities — 90 per cent of which are renewable.

Its $36-per-share offer for Ascendant amounts to total consideration of $365 million.

Ascendant has about 2,700 Bermudian shareholders and the majority backed the takeover bid last year.

In addition to being the parent company of Belco, Ascendant is the parent of AG Holdings Limited, which includes air conditioning firm AirCare, IFM Limited, a property management firm, engineering company iEPC and Ascendant Properties.

The Government is expected to hold a press conference on the Ascendant matter today.

Step forward: the Regulatory Authority has given approval for the change of control of Belco. Ascendant Group Ltd, Belco's parent company, is awaiting further approvals (File photograph)

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Published October 06, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated October 06, 2020 at 2:07 pm)

Ascendant sale approved

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