Infra fund GIP puts Freeport LNG stake up for sale -sources
By David French
July 16 (Reuters) - Global Infrastructure Partners has put up for sale its 26% stake in the limited partnership behind Freeport LNG, the second-largest export facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the United States, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The infrastructure investor is working with an investment bank to solicit buyer interest, according to the sources.
The price which GIP is seeking for its stake could not be learned. It paid $850 million for the stake in 2014, before the Freeport LNG site began exporting gas and generating revenue.
There is no guarantee that a sale will happen, and GIP could ultimately keep hold of the stake, cautioned the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is private.
GIP declined to comment when contacted by Reuters and Freeport LNG did not respond to a comment request.
Stakes in large energy projects often change hands once operational, as early-stage investors who backed the scheme - often when there is still considerable risk as to whether the project will be completed - book profits and other investors drawn by steady returns step in.
Last year, Brookfield Asset Management BAMa.TO bought a stake in Cheniere Energy Inc's LNG.A limited partnership from Blackstone Group Inc BX.N. This came after a unit of the Canadian investment firm paid north of $2 billion in 2019 for a 25% stake in Cove Point, an LNG terminal in Maryland predominantly owned by Dominion Energy Inc D.N.
Originally envisioned as an import terminal, Freeport LNG was converted into an export facility once the U.S. shale gas boom took off. Situated on Quintana Island off the Texas coast, exports began in 2019, with its three production units providing 15 million metric tonnes per year of liquefaction capacity. A fourth unit is planned, according to Freeport LNG's website.
Freeport LNG Development LP is majority owned by founder Michael Smith. Osaka Gas Co 9532.T is also an investor.
(Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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