CDPQ Increases its Majority Stake in Énergir
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global investment group, today announced a substantial increase in its majority interest in Énergir through the acquisition of Enbridge’s 38.9% interest in Noverco Inc. by Trencap L.P.
Following this $1.14-billion transaction led by CDPQ, Trencap will own 100% of Noverco, which owns 100% of Énergir. CDPQ currently owns 64.74% of Trencap, alongside minority limited partners, including the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.
With assets of over $8 billion and 530,000 customers across Québec and the northeastern United States, Énergir is a diversified energy business, with half of its assets now involved in the production and distribution of electricity and renewable energies and in providing energy services. The main distributor of natural gas in Québec, Énergir also produces electricity in the province from wind power through joint-venture companies. Through subsidiaries and other investments, Énergir is present in the United States, where it produces electricity from hydro, wind and solar sources, in addition to being the primary distributor of electricity and the sole distributor of natural gas in Vermont.
“CDPQ’s first investment in Énergir dates back to 2004. For more than 15 years, we have been supporting this Québec company in its growth and diversification, in both Québec and the United States,” said Emmanuel Jaclot, Executive Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure at CDPQ. “With this transaction, CDPQ is furthering its support of Énergir, an innovative business that is working to decarbonize its operations for the benefit of its customers, for example by focusing on energy efficiency and renewable gas, thus contributing to a greener North American economy.”
The acquisition of Enbridge’s minority interest is conditional to customary regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close by early 2022.
Énergir is a great company that many of us in Quebec know well (used to be called Gaz Métro).
The company is well known for its natural gas operations but it's more diversified, with half of its assets now involved in the production and distribution of electricity and renewable energies and in providing energy services.
My favorite thing on the company's website are all the case studies with partner companies.
I enjoyed reading the ones on Cascades and Air Transat but there are plenty of others worth reading about.
Anyway, it makes perfect sense that CDPQ consolidates its role as Énergir’s majority investor with the acquisition of Enbridge’s stake in Noverco by Trencap.
This is a great asset to own not only because CDPQ wants to lower its carbon footprint but also because this is the future of energy and this company is only going to grow much bigger over the next 25 years.
Emmanuel Jaclot, Executive Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure at CDPQ, notes that for over 15 years CDPQ has been supporting the growth and diversification of this company, both in Quebec and the United States.
And I am sure it will only continue to support this company's growth and diversification.
It should be noted the $1.14 billion transaction is sizable but these are exactly the assets CDPQ needs to be focusing on right now, growing businesses with stable and secure cash flows, especially in the clean energy sector.
In other related news, SWFI reports CDPQ will soon be launching a green bond:
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is launching a green bond. CDPQ was created in 1965 by an Act of the National Assembly of Québec to manage assets for public and parapublic depositors. CDPQ started a commitment adopted in 2017 to reduce its carbon intensity per dollar invested by 25% by 2025. CDPQ’s treasury department will be responsible for maintaining a Green Bond Register and will allocate an amount equivalent to the Green Bond net proceeds to eligible investments.
Again, given the amount of renewable energy investing CDPQ is undertaking, it makes sense to finance this activity via green bonds it can issue with an attractive yield for other (smaller) pensions looking to invest in these bonds.
What else? Today, CDPQ announced it took part in a $25 million series B round Poka just closed:
Poka, a leading connected worker platform built specifically for manufacturers, has raised $25 million in Series B financing in support of the company’s next phase of growth. 40 North Ventures led the investment with participation from McRock Capital and existing investors SE Ventures, CDPQ, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Leclerc. This round brings the company’s total funding to more than $45 million.
The manufacturing sector is facing a perfect storm of challenges from a worsening skills crisis, increased operational complexity and workforce volatility caused by the pandemic. According to a recent study from The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte (2021), 77% of manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond. Poka helps address these challenges by giving factory workers the ability to learn continuously and solve problems more autonomously at the point of need.
Many industrial leaders including Nestlé, Bosch, Johnson & Johnson and Tetra Pak have committed to developing workforce competencies and operational knowledge by including Poka as a pillar of their digital transformation strategy. “The concept of connecting every single worker was the foundation of our digital journey and supports a highly collaborative culture while ensuring high quality standards for the production of Purina’s pet care products,” shared Paul Ingram, Director Digital Manufacturing Operations, Nestlé Purina. “We believe having workers connected and able to get information whenever and wherever they are in the factory is key to agility and our ability to continue advancing and innovating our processes.”
Poka will use the new funds to accelerate product development in support of the company's vision to give manufacturers a single hub for operational knowledge and collaboration on the factory floor. The funding will also expedite Poka’s ability to better serve its growing global customer base by scaling its go-to-market teams.
“As the Industrial Internet of Things advances the capabilities of manufacturing equipment, it’s critical that factory workers also have digital technologies to provide true continuous improvement on the factory floor,” said Scott MacDonald, Co-founder of McRock Capital. “Poka’s platform is significantly improving plant productivity at many of the largest manufacturers in the world.”
40 North Ventures and McRock Capital bring to Poka deep Industry 4.0 experience and a shared passion for driving digital transformation in manufacturing.
“Many Industry 4.0 initiatives promise disruptive automation solutions without considering the workforce and existing processes,” shared Ben Sampson, Principal at 40 North Ventures. “We were struck by Poka’s ability to increase productivity — at the shift, factory and enterprise levels — by focusing on improving the way workers interact with equipment, workflows and each other.”
"This last year once again proved that company performance is greatly impacted by technology. Poka’s digital platform resolves several key issues in the manufacturing sector, especially in skills management and communication. CDPQ is proud to continue its support with this reinvestment." Alexandre Synnett, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer.
“Connected workers are empowered workers,” emphasized Alexandre Leclerc, CEO & Co-Founder of Poka. “Our goal is to help our manufacturing clients turn every production problem into an opportunity to build collective knowledge, learn and improve.”
Poka is a connected worker platform built specifically for manufacturers. The company’s mission is to provide a hub for operational knowledge in factories by empowering workers to learn, share and collaborate right from the production floor. Poka was the recipient of the 2020 Open Bosch Award in recognition of outstanding innovation and was distinguished as a top Connected Worker vendor in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Manufacturing Operations Strategy, two years in a row. Poka is trusted by leading global manufacturers including Nestlé, Danone, Bosch, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and Tetra Pak. For additional information, visit www.poka.io
Poka sounds like another great disruptor in the manufacturing sector and I'm glad CDPQ is supporting its growth.
Below, a clip on Energir and it operations as well as one on Poka and how it helps manufacturers address a growing skills crisis.
I also included an older (2019) interview in French with Michel Nadeau where he discussed the leadership of Energir's former CEO, Sophie Brochu who was at the helm of this company for 12 years (the current CEO is Éric Lachance; Ms. Brochu is now the CEO of Hydro Québec).
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