Brookfield May be 'Dark Horse' Buyer for Trans Mountain

Brookfield May be 'Dark Horse' Buyer for Trans Mountain
Any further cost overruns would make Trans Mountain an unattractive M&A candidate for existing Canadian infrastructure companies.

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s Trans Mountain oil-pipeline expansion is no bargain after a multibillion-dollar increase in the cost of the project. But there could be at least one unexpected suitor.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP may be a “dark horse” buyer should the opportunity arise as it recently completed a big equity raise and has “excellent access to capital markets,” Ian Gillies, an analyst at Stifel FirstEnergy said in a report published Monday. Brookfield had purchased NorthRiver Midstream Inc. in 2018, highlighting its interest and ability to run energy infrastructure assets.

The price tag for the Trans Mountain expansion has increased 70% to C$12.6 billion ($9.5 billion) given legal delays and accommodations made to indigenous communities along its route. The project is now owned by Justin Trudeau’s government, who purchased it from U.S.-based Kinder Morgan Inc. for $4.5 billion.

Just last week, parent company Brookfield Asset Management Inc. raised $20 billion in equity commitments for its flagship global infrastructure fund and the firm itself committed $5 billion of capital, which will be funded through Brookfield Infrastructure and Brookfield Renewable Partners LP.

“Any further cost overruns would make Trans Mountain an unattractive M&A candidate for existing Canadian infrastructure companies,” Gillies said in a note to clients:

Pension and private equity funds also could also look at the project, however the former may face ESG-related headwinds given the Trans Mountain pipeline ships crude from Canada’s oil-sands, Gillies said.
Various Indigenous groups to also pursue Trans Mountain, he said adding that the pipeline company now has agreements with 58 First Nations groups, up from 43.
Pembina Pipeline Corp. could “at least review the transaction” given its enterprise value of C$44 billion
Pipeline giants TC Energy Corp. and Enbridge Inc. may not be in the market for large-scale deals and could require equity financings

To contact the reporter on this story:
Michael Bellusci in Toronto at mbellusci2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Brad Olesen at bolesen3@bloomberg.net
Divya Balji, Dave Liedtka



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