In August 2004, STAR acquired 3i’s minority shareholding in GWE and provided a funding commitment to allow the company to develop its pipeline of opportunities. The incumbent management and other existing ‘non-3i’ shareholders retained a shareholding in the business.
GWE is an independent energy services provider specialising in the provision of cooling, heat and power (“CHP”) to a broad range of customers, including industrials and hospitals. There was, and continues to be, a significant political and social trend towards more energy efficiency throughout Europe and the promotion of CHP energy is of high priority.
At the time of STAR’s acquisition, GWE had a large pipeline of future development projects requiring financing. While GWE had the expertise required to develop assets, it didn’t have the balance sheet to own them. STAR provided GWE with the capital to pursue an ownership rather than developer strategy. Under STAR’s ownership, GWE’s installed capacity increased from 55MWel and 241MWth at the time of acquisition to 93MWel and 464MWth at the time of exit (including contracted projects under development / construction). EBITDA grew by more than threefold over that period.
In April 2008 STAR sold GWE to Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 2.