QIC and Intellihub strengthen market position with smart metering acquisitions

QIC and Intellihub strengthen market position with smart metering acquisitions
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Australasian companies QIC and Intellihub have made strategic acquisitions of smart metering companies in bids to strengthen their positions in the New Zealand and Australian markets.

Australia-owned QIC has closed a $1.1 billion green loan for its acquisition of Vector Metering, announced the same day as Intellihub’s acquisition of New Zealand metering solutions provider, Influx Energy Data.

QIC’s $1.1bn green loan for smart metering

Australian state-owned QIC (Queensland Investment Corporation) Infrastructure has closed an AU$1.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) green loan for its acquisition of smart meter business, Vector Metering.

The loan comprises green term loans to fund QIC’s 50% interest in Vector Metering, in addition to green CAPEX facilities to fund the business’ ongoing electricity smart metering expansion across Australia and New Zealand.

The acquisition of Vector Metering, which is touted as the largest smart meter provider of its kind across Australia and New Zealand, was contractually closed earlier this year in April.

The green loan, states QIC, marks the first Use of Proceeds Certification globally under the new Climate Bonds Standard Version 4.0 (CBS v4.0), a labelling scheme for entities, assets, bonds, loans and other sustainability-linked debt instruments in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

QIC claims the green loan as “the largest Climate Bonds Certified green bank loan aligned with the Climate Bonds’ Electrical Grids and Storage eligibility criteria”.

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Smart meters critical for net zero

Ross Israel, head of Global Infrastructure at QIC commented on the green financing, stating the critical role of smart meters in decarbonising Australia and New Zealand.

Specifically, he stated, “Their role is rapidly evolving from data processing for timely billing purposes” to enabling smarter integration of renewables onto the grid and managing the ever-increasing volume and volatility of electricity supply, “due to the broader energy transition and increasing penetration of renewable generation.”

Sean Kidney, CEO of Climate Bonds Initiative, also commented on the financing milestone, which “underscores the importance of transparent and credible certification in mobilising capital for climate-aligned investments and demonstrates a real economy example of transition of energy systems.”

The green loan was issued under Vector Metering’s Green Financing Framework, which was developed in line with the February 2023 update to the Green Loan Principles.

Vector Metering obtained a Verification Report and an assurance opinion from DNV Australia, a Climate Bonds’ Approved Verifier, confirming that the Green Instrument was issued in alignment with the Principles and CBS v4.0.

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MUFG Bank Ltd, National Australia Bank Limited, Westpac Banking Corporation and Westpac New Zealand acted as joint sustainability coordinators on the transaction.

According to QIC, certification under CBS v4.0 demonstrates Vector Metering’s significant commitment to the increasing use of electricity smart metering.

QIC further states how the green loan attracted significant interest from a ‘lending syndicate’ of 11 major domestic and international lenders.

JP Morgan acted as financial advisor on the transaction, with Herbert Smith Freehills and Russell McVeagh acting as borrower’s counsel and Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Bell Gully acting as lenders’ counsel.

Intellihub acquires smart electricity metering solution

On the same day as the announcement of the green financing, Australian and New Zealand smart metering and energy data services business Intellihub announced the acquisition of New Zealand metering solutions provider, Influx Energy Data, from electricity distribution business The Lines Company (TLC).

The Influx metering and data solutions business manages more than 125,000 smart and legacy Installation Control Points on behalf of all major electricity retailers in New Zealand.

The solutions provide cloud-based services that can dynamically control home water heating and energy data, helping customers save on energy costs and = support electricity retailers and distribution networks.

Intellihub CEO Wes Ballantine commented on the acquisition: “We look forward to introducing (Influx’s) customers to our broader metering footprint and innovative investment path. This is another acquisition that supports our goal of enabling intelligent energy use across the region.”

With the addition of Influx, Intellihub now manages more than 2 million smart devices across Australia and New Zealand on behalf of electricity retailers.

The announcement follows Intellihub’s acquisition of energy tech company GreenSync, which has developed a cloud-based DER interoperability software known as DeX – or decentralised energy exchange.

DeX is a digital platform that enables DER registration, near real-time visibility and the control and data management required for Virtual Power Plant (VPP) participation.

Mr Ballantine said the business was now installing 2,000 of its next-gen smart meter in homes and businesses each day across Australia and New Zealand.

“Our next-gen meter includes real-time, high-speed measurements with communications platforms that provide visibility, control, and better management of consumer energy resources,” he said. “This includes the increasing number of solar and battery energy storage systems, EV charging, water heating and pool pumps.

“We have stated our intention to invest further in New Zealand and this acquisition is a material step along that path. We look forward to continuing those investment plans into the future.”