Background

  • Phoenix Energy Group Limited (Phoenix) is the largest gas distribution operator in Northern Ireland, covering c. 48% of the population, and providing essential energy solutions to a wide range of customers, including domestic, commercial, and industrial clients
  • Phoenix is owned by NatWest Group Pension Fund (50%) and Utilities Trust of Australia (50%) via respective fund managers Vantage and Morrison & Co
  • Phoenix’s network is constructed from low maintenance polyethylene (PE) pipes, capable of transporting low carbon fuel alternatives including biomethane and hydrogen
  • Phoenix has a strong investment grade credit rating from both Fitch (BBB, Stable) and Moody’s (Baa2, Stable)

Process

  • DC Advisory was appointed as exclusive financial advisor to Phoenix and the sponsors for the refinancing of Phoenix's debt facilities
  • DC Advisory provided comprehensive advice to Phoenix through the regulatory determination period for GD23 (the regulatory period from 2023-2028) and the subsequent competitive refinancing process
  • The refinancing process included a range of detailed workstreams, including:
    • Engagement with rating agencies
    • Complex structuring and valuation analysis
    • Full documentation negotiations
    • Hedge structuring

Outcome

  • DC Advisory delivered a successful outcome for Phoenix and the sponsors, arranging bank and USPP facilities
  • The attractive £510m refinancing package was executed on competitive terms, including:
    • Improvements to the existing multi-creditor platform
    • Optimised debt maturity profile against future regulatory review timeframes
    • Introduction of portability ahead of a potential sale
  • The transaction closed in November 2023
  • The transaction further demonstrates DC Advisory’s expertise in the energy and regulated utilities sector, and strengthens the firm’s experience in advising on complex transactions