MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 7, 2017) - Valener Inc. ("Valener") (TSX:VNR)(TSX:VNR.PR.A) is pleased to announce that Gaz Métro Limited Partnership ("Gaz Métro"), its main investment, today announced the acquisition, through a subsidiary, of Standard Solar, Inc. ("Standard Solar"), a leading solar energy firm specializing in the development, installation and financing of commercial solar electric systems across the United States. This strategic deal not only expands Gaz Métro's presence and expertise in the rapidly growing U.S. solar energy industry, but also opens the door to a promising approach of combining solar energy with other energy sources such as natural gas in the U.S.
Based in Rockville, Maryland, Standard Solar is a commercial, industrial and institutional solar developer, engineering, procurement and construction management, as well as operations and maintenance services provider operating in multiple states in the U.S. and currently has a portfolio of construction-ready projects for a total of nearly 80 MW, a significant development pipeline and over 100 MW of solar generation capacity under management services.
"Gaz Métro is positioning itself to take full advantage of the projected growth in the solar energy industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. What's more, this acquisition reflects Gaz Métro's willingness to increase its presence in the renewable energy segment while growing its current business operations," said Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gaz Métro. "Standard Solar is a dynamic and experienced player in a growing industry led by a seasoned and highly competent management team with a sterling reputation and outstanding track record."
"Solar energy is a thriving industry in the U.S., and this acquisition comes at a perfect time for
Gaz Métro," continued Ms. Brochu. "With Standard Solar's expertise and existing platforms, as well as our company's long-term growth strategy, we are poised for success in the U.S."
Through the agreement, Gaz Métro indirectly acquires 100% of Standard Solar's shares. The transaction is pending a regulatory approval and is expected to close in the coming weeks.
Valener Inc. is a widely held public company that serves as the investment vehicle in Gaz Métro. Through its investment in Gaz Métro, Valener offers its shareholders a solid investment in a diversified and largely regulated energy portfolio in Québec and Vermont. As a strategic partner, Valener, on the one hand, contributes to Gaz Métro's growth, and on the other, invests in wind power production in Québec alongside Gaz Métro. Valener favours energy sources and uses that are innovative, clean, competitive and profitable. Valener's common and preferred shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the "VNR" symbol for common shares and the "VNR.PR.A" symbol for Series A preferred shares. www.valener.com
About Gaz Métro
With more than $7 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Québec, where its network of over 10,000 km of underground pipelines serves more than 300 municipalities and over 205,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont, producing and transporting electricity and distributing electricity and natural gas to meet the needs of more than 315,000 customers. Gaz Métro is actively involved in the development and operation of innovative, promising energy projects, including natural gas as fuel and liquefied natural gas as a replacement to higher emission-producing energies, the production of wind and solar power, and the development of biomethane. Gaz Métro is a major energy sector player that takes the lead in responding to the needs of its customers, regions and municipalities, local organizations and communities while also satisfying the expectations of its Partners (Gaz Métro inc. and Valener) and employees. www.gazmetro.com
Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements
This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking information reflects the intentions, plans, expectations and opinions of the management of Gaz Métro inc. ("GMi"), in its capacity as General Partner of Gaz Métro, acting as manager of Valener ("the management of the manager"), and is based on information currently available to the management of the manager and assumptions about future events. Forward-looking statements can often be identified by words such as "plans," "expects," "estimates," "seeks," "targets," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates" or "believes" or similar expressions, including the negative and conjugated forms of these words. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors beyond the control of the management of the manager. A number of factors could cause the actual results of Valener or of Gaz Métro to differ significantly from historical results or current expectations, as described in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the general nature of the aforementioned, terms of decisions rendered by regulatory agencies, uncertainty that approvals will be obtained by Gaz Métro from regulatory agencies and interested parties to carry out all of its activities and the socio-economic risks associated with such activities, uncertainty related to Québec's 2030 Energy Policy, the competitiveness of natural gas in relation to other energy sources in the context of fluctuating global oil prices, the reliability or costs of natural gas supply and electricity supply, the integrity of the natural gas and electricity distribution systems, the evolution and profitability of Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms 2 and 3 General Partnership ("Wind Farms 2 and 3") and Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farm 4 GP ("Wind Farm 4") and other development projects, Valener's ability to generate sufficient cash to support its anticipated target annual dividend growth rate on its common shares, the ability to complete attractive acquisitions and the related financing and integration aspects, the ability to complete new development projects, the ability to secure future financing, general economic conditions, exchange rate and interest rate fluctuations, weather conditions and other factors described in section E) Risk Factors Relating to Valener and in section R) Risk Factors Relating to Gaz Métro of Valener's MD&A for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016 and in subsequent Valener quarterly MD&As that might address changes to these risks.
Although the forward-looking statements contained herein are based on what the management of the manager believes to be reasonable assumptions, in particular assumptions that no unforeseen changes in the legislative and regulatory framework of energy markets in Québec and in the New England states will occur; that the applications filed with various regulatory agencies will be approved as submitted; that natural gas prices will remain competitive; that the supply of natural gas and electricity will be maintained or will be available at competitive costs; that no significant event will occur outside the ordinary course of business, such as a natural disaster or other calamity, or threat to cybersecurity (or cyberattack); that Gaz Métro can continue to distribute substantially all of its net income (excluding non-recurring items); that Wind Farms 2 and 3 and Wind Farm 4 will be able to make distribution payments to their partners; that Valener will be able to generate sufficient cash to support its anticipated target annual dividend growth rate on its common shares; that Green Mountain Power Corporation will be able to continue achieving efficiency gains and synergies from the merger with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation; that Valener and Gaz Métro will be able to present their information in accordance with U.S. GAAP beyond 2018 or, after 2018, will adopt International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") that permit the recognition of regulatory assets and liabilities; that liquidity needs for Gaz Métro's development projects will be obtained through a combination of operating cash flows, borrowings on credit facilities, capital injections from partners, and issuances of debt securities; and that the subsidiaries will obtain the required authorizations and funds needed to finance their development projects. In addition to the other assumptions described in the Valener MD&A for the period ended December 31, 2016, the management of the manager cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements are made as of this date, and the management of the manager assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required pursuant to applicable securities laws. These statements do not reflect the potential impact of any unusual item or any business combination or other transaction that may be announced or that may occur after the date hereof. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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