Japanese Investors Partner & I Squared Capital on US$370M Strategic Investment

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 4/15/2024, Location: Asia

- Japanese investors to take a minority stake in a Singapore-based holding company with investments in companies developing city gas distribution networks in India.

- Transaction to provide fresh injection of equity to support new infrastructure investments and expand technical know-how and adoption of global best practices in line with India’s energy targets.

- Investment will promote long-term adoption of biogas and emerging green hydrogen technologies in India for clean energy targets.

I Squared Capital, a leading independent global infrastructure investor, announced that a consortium of Japanese investors will become strategic minority shareholders in the Natural Gas Transition Platform (the Platform), a Singapore-based holding company with investments in Indian city gas distribution networks that develop and operate Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations for vehicles, pipe natural gas to homes, and distribute Piped Natural Gas (PNG) as well as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to industrial and commercial customers.

The Japanese investor consortium is made up of Osaka Gas, the second-largest city gas distributor in Japan, Sumitomo Corporation, one of Japan’s largest trading houses, and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation (JOIN), a government-sponsored entity that promotes Japanese investment abroad. The transaction will diversify the Platform’s shareholder base and bring in additional long-term capital from the consortium members.

Commenting on the transaction, Harsh Agrawal, Senior Partner, APAC, I Squared, said: “India aims to boost the share of natural gas from nearly 7% currently to 15% of the primary energy mix by 2030. I Squared Capital, through the Natural Gas Transition Platform, is committed to supporting a just and equitable transition of the country’s energy sector. Our new partners, Osaka Gas, Sumitomo Corporation and JOIN share this ambition and together we will be working to facilitate the shift from more carbon-intensive fossil fuels to natural gas in India.”

He continued: “We are very pleased to attract these long-term and experienced partners to our growing energy Platform. The additional capital provided will be used to support the energy transition in India through the expansion of last-mile city gas distribution infrastructure. We regard natural gas as a transitional energy source that will play an important role in global decarbonization, substituting for more polluting fuels such as diesel and coal, while at the same time supporting India’s urbanization and industrialization with stable and affordable energy.”

The Platform has active investments in last-mile city gas distribution businesses, including THINK Gas and AG&P Pratham. Together, these companies are developing city gas infrastructure across 19 geographical areas covering 325,000 square kilometres and serving over 85 million people. Through the use of new infrastructure developed over the last four years, including over 9,000 kilometres of low-pressure gas pipelines, 30 LCNG (Liquefied Compressed Natural Gas) and compressed gas stations and over 430 CNG stations, the Platform will serve millions of vehicles per day and thousands of commercial and industrial users by 2030.

In addition to gas distribution, the Platform will increase investments to boost the consumption of renewable natural gas (biogas) in India. The Platform is already one of the largest procurers of biogas in India and aims to procure about 5 million tonnes over the next 25 years. This will support the Indian government’s vision to increase the consumption of biogas, generate employment at the local level, and reduce pollution from crop burning. Further, the Platform will also look to increase the use of green hydrogen using the city gas network.

In March 2023, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan and Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of lndia prioritized the co-operation between India and Japan under “India Japan Clean Energy Partnership”. The investments made by the Japanese consortium will not only be a key step towards fulfilling the vision laid out in this partnership but will also enhance the cooperation between Indian and Japanese companies, further deepening the bilateral relations.

In the future, the Platform will continue to introduce global best practices, industry-leading technology and best-in-class social and governance practices across the natural gas value chain in India.

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