GFG executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta. Image: GFG Alliance.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
ARRIUM’S new owner, GFG Alliance, has bought a majority stake in renewable energy company ZEN Energy as part of its ‘strategic entry’ into the Australian market.
Led by British Indian billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, GFG has purchased a 50.1 per cent interest in the renewable power and battery storage business through his family’s SIMEC energy, infrastructure and resources entity.
SIMEC ZEN Energy, the new name for the joint venture, will work towards delivering cheaper, more reliable and environmentally sustainable power for GFG’s mining operations in South Australia, NSW, Victoria, QLD and WA.
The company will also project-manage the development of SIMEC Energy Australia’s new large-scale solar PV, battery storage and pumped hydro facilities.
The deal follows GFG’s acquisition of Australia’s largest integrated steel and mining business, Arrium in late August.
GFG executive chairman Mr Gupta said the group was “delighted” to partner with ZEN on projects to help “dramatically reduce the cost of dispatchable power”.
“The high cost of energy for Australian consumers is debilitating for the economy and a crying shame for a country so rich in resources,” Mr Gupta said.
“We clearly see a need for industrial groups and energy generators to work together.
“Long-term sustainable energy solutions need to be founded on both economic and environmental principles in order to work properly.
“With our partners, we can deliver a step change in the power industry.”
ZEN chairman Ross Garnaut said the company has been looking for the right capital investor and strategic partner to help realise its plans.
“ZEN has spent many years building the strategy, business models and management and technological capacities to introduce new solutions to Australia’s energy problems of weak competition, high costs, low reliability and unnecessary pollution,” Mr Garnaut said.
“We have found the perfect match in Sanjeev and the SIMEC Energy team.
“Their understanding of the energy dilemma this country faces, which is making much of our industry uncommercial and environmentally unsustainable, means we see the market need and opportunity in the same way.
“We are excited about the future, as this will yield benefits for Australian jobs, investors, communities and the environment.”