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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

UK arm of Kuwaiti fund said to buy North Sea pipeline firm for £1.3bn

Wren House, a unit of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), fought off bids from JP Morgan, Blackstone, and private equity fund KKR, sources say

Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund unit said to purchase North Sea pipeline company. EPA
Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund unit said to purchase North Sea pipeline company. EPA

The British infrastructure arm of Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP) for around £1.3 billion (Dh6.27bn) from ArcLight Capital, according to two sources.

Wren House, the London-based infrastructure investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), fought off bids from JP Morgan, Blackstone, and private equity fund KKR to buy NSMP, according to one of the sources.

"Wren House was bidding against some very big players and they simply offered the best terms," said the source. A spokesman for Wren House could not be reached for immediate comment.

Its bid was lower than one other but it offered better overall terms, according to one of the sources.

The current management team, including NSMP CEO Andy Heppel, will remain, the source said.

NSMP was valued at around £1.2bn to £1.3bn, the sources said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised ArcLight on the transaction. Patrick de Loe, Merrill's managing director of Emea infrastructure, declined to comment.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was ArcLight's legal adviser. Wren House was advised by Jefferies and Macquarie Capital. Its legal advisor was Slaughter and May.

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The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranks KIA as the world’s fourth-biggest sovereign fund, managing $592bn. Only Norway, China and UAE have bigger sovereign funds.

Wren House is headed by Hakim Drissi Kaitouni, a former investment banker who worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London and New York.

Its other investments in the United Kingdom include stakes in Associated British Ports, London City Airport and Thames Water.

NSMP owns a 67 per cent interest in the Sirge pipeline that transports natural gas from the West of Shetlands basin and a 100 per cent interest in the Fuka pipeline which transports gas from the Sirge pipeline and various fields in the northern and central North Sea.

NSMP also owns the St Fergus Gas Terminal and Teesside Gas Processing Plant. NSMP counts the Rhum gasfield, in the North Sea and which is 50 per cent owned by the Iranian Oil Company, among its clients.