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Germany's RWE sells off 50% stake of US-based Excelerate Energy

02 Aug 2013 19:21:35 | glm

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RWE has sold its 50% share of US LNG company Excelerate Energy to its existing co-owner, George B. Kaiser, the Germany-based utility announced on 2 August.

The transaction is pending board approval from RWE. A sale figure for the 50% stake was not disclosed.

"Excelerate Energy has developed to become a very successful global provider of infrastructure based on special LNG ships with on-board regasification. This business is further developing into a pure LNG infrastructure business and is therefore an ever less integral part of the core activities of RWE," said Stefan Judisch, CEO of RWE Supply & Trading in a statement.

An RWE spokesman said the board was next scheduled to meet in September.

RWE purchased the 50% stake in Excelerate from Kaiser in 2008 for approximately $500m, but there has been heightened market speculation in recent months that the Essen-headquartered company was seeking to divest its stake in Excelerate, which has been one of its more profitable investments, as part of a wider strategy to bolster its finances. It has also indicated that it plans to divest its oil and gas exploration and production unit RWE Dea, although this is unlikely to be completed in 2013.

RWE, which has stepped up its spot LNG trading activity in 2013, and was awarded two cargoes to supply Mexico's state utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) during the year, indicated its interest in continuing in LNG trading after the Excelerate sale.

"The traditional LNG trading will be continued and even further developed as part of the overall gas portfolio of the RWE Group," said a spokesman from the utility.

Houston-based Excelerate Energy was among the pioneers of developing floating storage and regasification units (FSRU), and also is engaged in trading LNG. It controls a fleet of 10 LNG conventional vessels and nine FSRUs, including one under construction.

Excelerate also is developing a proposed export facility known as Lavaca Bay, as a 4.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) floating liquefaction facility in south Texas. The project is pending approval for a non-free trade agreement (non-FTA) from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to sell to countries such as China and Japan, and currently marketing its offtake capacity.

The project, which costs an estimated $2.4bn, is targeting an early 2018 start-up date.

A spokeswoman for Excelerate was unable to be reached for immediate comment. Ruth Liao

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