Two of Australia’s richest people are expected to be rivals in the bidding process for Sun Cable, the developer of what could be the world’s biggest intercontinental solar and energy storage project. Administrators indicate that the sale process could be completed within three months.
The future of Sun Cable’s proposed AUD 30 billion (USD 20.7 billion) Australia-Asia PowerLink project planned for the Northern Territory could be decided in less than three months, with the administrators revealing that they hope to have the company sold or recapitalized by the end of April.
The first creditors’ meeting was held on Friday after Sun Cable, which is largely owned by mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s private firm Squadron Energy and technology billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes’ private investment company Grok, entered voluntary administration on Jan. 11, citing an “absence of alignment” among shareholders.
The administrators said on Friday Sun Cable will be put up for sale before the end of January amid a “strong level of interest” in the company and its Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink) venture. The administrators said they plan to appoint an adviser shortly to conduct the sale process which is expected to be finalised by April.
“Indicative timing for the sale process is approximately three months,” FTI Consulting said in a statement released after the meeting of creditors.
Both Forrest and Atlassian co-founder Cannon-Brookes, who have provided AUD 65 million in interim funding through Grok to allow Sun Cable to continue to operate, are expected to submit bids for the company.
Sun Cable’s AAPowerLink project aims to power Darwin and export solar from the NT to Singapore via a 4,200-kilometer submarine transmission link. The proposal includes building up to 20 GW of solar and 42 GWh of energy storage in the Barkley region.
Fortescue Metals Group Chair Forrest, who has made no secret of his support for green hydrogen as the fuel of the future, has indicated he intends to bid on the company, but has questioned the technical viability of the submarine cable. It is expected that if Squadron Energy gains control of Sun Cable, it will scrap the undersea cable plan.
Cannon-Brookes, who is the chairman of Sun Cable, is also tipped to bid for the company and has indicated that he intends to proceed with the original proposal if he is successful, as he fully backs the project’s ambition and the team.
FTI said it is now seeking proposals from advisers to act on the sale and run the sale process. An appointment is expected shortly. The sale process is expected to take three months. The second creditors’ meeting would normally be held on or before Feb. 14, but FTI said it would apply for an extension to carry out the sale process in advance.
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