Judging by the emails/comments I’m getting, there’s plenty of current & potential investors out there delighted to see Monday’s announcement from NTR plc, confirming the sale of its US wind farms. [i.e. NTR’s 201 MW Post Rock, KS & 150 MW Lost Creek, MO wind farms – both approx. 3 years old, with 20 yr investment-grade PPAs in place]. Like many corporate releases though, it raises just as many questions as it answers…including the most obvious question:
So, what are the implications now for NTR’s NAV & share price?!
Far be it for me to predict a near-term share price trajectory – let’s see what the next few weeks’ trading brings – but I’m obviously keen to arrive at a fresh NAV estimate, based on this key value-realisation event. First, let’s take a breath & revisit my original NTR investment write-up (from Aug-2014). I won’t recap it here…because I’d suggest (re-)reading that piece is probably essential prep for the rest of this post (it definitely was for me!).
Picking up where I left off, I wrapped up that post with this speculation: ‘…it will be interesting to see if there’s any fireworks at the [September AGM] meeting’ – little did I know how fortuitous, yet prescient, this would prove to be! Preceded by a number of critical press articles (which prompted this pre-AGM response), there were indeed fireworks at the AGM itself…I think it’s fair to say management looked a tad defensive & beleaguered by all the questions and attention!
However, the real AGM highlight was confirmation the board had already requested management (in April-2014, which of course ‘preceded and was entirely independent from any…shareholder discussions’) to consider the strategic options for NTR’s US wind assets. It was also acknowledged (as I’d already argued in my prior post) ‘there could be strong interest in the US wind assets given their quality and operational performance’, and that ‘a successful sale could result in an opportunity for an additional liquidity event for all our shareholders.’ This was capped off with a commitment to appoint expert advisers, and (subject to their report) to potentially move ahead with a sale process.
Shortly after the AGM, the company then confirmed its three main shareholders (representing 71.5% of NTR’s issued share capital) had reached agreement, and had ‘put a proposal to the Board that it initiate a process to sell the NTR US wind assets as soon as possible and that NTR implement a tender offer as soon as possible thereafter for NTR’s issued shares.’ Depending upon the tender price per share, One Fifty One plc & Pageant Holdings informed the board they intended to accept such a tender offer for all their shares, while Woodford Capital (family investment vehicle of Chairman Tom Roche) stated its intention not to sell any shares in such a tender offer. This obviously allayed any lingering investor concerns management wouldn’t follow through on a value-realisation strategy…as evidenced two months later by the appointment of Marathon Capital to formally launch a sale process for the US wind farms.