Canada's Hydro One Utility Raises C$1.66 Billion in IPO

  • Government utility sold shares for C$20.50 apiece in offering
  • Banks arranging IPO have option to sell additional 10% of sale

Ontario raised C$1.66 billion ($1.26 billion) by selling a 13.6 percent stake of its Hydro One Ltd. electricity utility through an initial public offering, generating funds for the Canadian province to put toward infrastructure and debt repayment.

A total 81.1 million shares were sold for C$20.50 each, in line with its revised C$20 to C$21 range, despite volatile stock markets, the Toronto-based company said Thursday in a statement. Proceeds may rise to C$1.83 billion if underwriters led by Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia take up an option to sell an additional 10 percent of the sale, which would make it Canada’s biggest IPO in 15 years.

“We were the perfect flavor for this market and I suspect we were helped by the market,” Ed Clark, chairman of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, said in a phone interview from Toronto. “In an uncertain world there’s a big appetite for guaranteed return assets with a strong yield.”

‘Looking Ahead’

Sales documents indicated the stock would pay a dividend yield of more than 4 percent.

The sale gives Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution company a market value of C$12.2 billion, based on 595 million shares outstanding. Individual investors accounted for about 40 percent of the offering, with institutional investors picking up the balance.

“Within the institutional side we got the big players that we wanted,” Clark said. “We are also looking ahead, and what you want to do is make sure you have a good outing and that people like what they see, so they want to stay into the stock as you go forward.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in April that she aimed to sell up to 60 percent of Hydro One during the next four to five years, raising C$9 billion for debt repayments and infrastructure and transit for Canada’s most populous province.

“The province remains on track to realize the financial target of C$9 billion,” Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said in a statement. “Future tranches will be released in a careful, staged manner, allowing us to stay on track, reduce risk, and realize our financial targets for the benefit of Ontarians.”

Hydro One will start trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol H after the sale closes Nov. 5.

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