Takeover target Genex beefs up energy storage prospects

MELBOURNE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Australia’s Genex Power , which last week rejected a takeover offer, said on Tuesday it has agreed to acquire development rights to a large-scale battery and solar farm project it hopes to start building in late 2024.

Genex did not disclose the price it paid private firm Solar Choice for the rights to develop what could eventually be a 2 gigawatt (GW) energy storage project, to be built in five stages, at Bulli Creek in the state of Queensland.

Chief Executive Officer James Harding told Reuters the pricetag was in line with standard market terms, without elaborating.

The first stage is a proposed 400 megawatt/1,600 megawatt hour (MWh) battery energy storage project, which would add to Genex’s pumped hydro project and another, much smaller battery project under construction.

“We have commenced discussions with potential joint development partners,” Harding said in a statement.

The company is the only pure-play renewable energy and storage firm listed on the Australian bourse at a time when the country is pushing to speed up the transition from a coal-dominated grid to wind and solar, backed up by energy storage.

Harding declined to comment on whether Genex has entered talks with its rebuffed suitors Skip Essential Infrastructure Fund and Stonepeak Partners LLC, who offered A$319 million ($222 million), but reiterated the company was “open for discussions with them”.

He also said he was not at liberty to say whether any other potential bidders had approached the company.

Genex shares fell 2.3% to A$0.215 in early trade on Wednesday, holding below the rejected offer price of A$0.23 a share. ($1 = 1.4397 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)