Sempra Energy to sell Peruvian businesses to China Yangtze for $3.59 billion

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(Reuters) – Sempra Energy said on Monday it would sell its Peruvian businesses to a unit of China Yangtze Power Co for $3.59 billion, as part of a planned exit from South America to focus on its core U.S. and Mexican markets.

The decision to wind down South American businesses was announced in January following pressure from Elliott and Bluescape Resources at a time when California-based utilities were already under pressure from the devastating wildfires that hit the state.

Sempra intends to use the deal proceeds to bolster its balance sheet and fund capital needs for its core utilities in California and Texas, Chief Executive Jeffrey Martin said in a statement on Monday.

The company settled with the investors, who at that time held a combined 4.9%, by agreeing to add two new board members and review its liquefied gas portfolio.

Elliott no longer own any shares in Sempra, according to the fund’s latest quarterly filing. here

Sempra also said it was continuing with the sale process for its businesses in Chile, including its 100% stake in Chilquinta Energía SA [SRECHQ.UL] and Tecnored SA. The company said it expected to announce an agreement in the fourth quarter.

Italian utility Enel earlier this year made a non-binding bid for the assets Sempra was looking to sell in Chile and Peru..

The Peruvian sale will include the 83.6% stake in Luz del Sur, as well as interests in energy services firms Tecsur SA and Inland Energy SAC, the company said.

Sempra said the deal with China Yangtze Power International (Hongkong) Co, which has to be approved by the Peruvian anti-trust agency and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Sempra’s subsidiary, Sempra LNG, has entered into an agreement with China Three Gorges Corp over potential supply of liquefied natural gas, the company said.

Since the announcement to sell the South America businesses, the company’s shares have risen about 28% through Friday’s close.