Tattarang Chair, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest. Source: Tattarang.
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  • Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) plans to acquire technology and engineering services firm Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) as it looks to accelerate its decarbonisation efforts
  • FMG entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with private equity company EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering to acquire WAE for £164 million (A$310 million)
  • FMG said the purchase allows it to accelerate and aid in the decarbonisation of its mining operations while also offering new commercial growth opportunities
  • A battery-electric train design will be one of the first significant projects to be built, according to the company
  • FMG shares last traded at $20.94 on January 21

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is set to buy technology and engineering services company Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to advance its decarbonisation efforts.

Fortescue said it had entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with private equity company EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited to acquire WAE for £164 million (A$310 million).

WAE will be administered by Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), Fortescue’s green energy and green technology subsidiary.

The company told the market on Monday that the acquisition allows it to expedite and assist the decarbonisation of its mining operations, while also creating a new commercial development potential.

Fortescue and WAE will collaborate to develop battery-electric solutions for Fortescue’s rail, mobile haul fleet, and other heavy mining equipment, with the aim of accelerating the rapid reduction of diesel consumption and decarbonising Fortescue’s mining operations by 2030.

A battery-electric train design will be one of the first significant projects to be built, according to the company.

Fortescue founder and Chairman Andrew Forrest said the acquisition was a major milestone for the group.

“FFI and WAE will work together to decarbonise Fortescue – and in turn the global heavy industry and hard to abate sectors – for the good of our planet, and the benefit of our shareholders,” Dr Forrest said.

“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment to remove fossil fuel powered machinery from our operations and to replace it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

WAE will continue to support its clients while growing its electrification technologies, engineering and manufacturing solutions under Fortescue’s ownership.

As part of this, Fortescue will form an advisory board to advise and empower WAE in meeting its goals. Mark Barnaba, Fortescue’s Lead Independent Director and Deputy Chairman, will serve on the board.

The transaction will be financed by Fortescue’s current liquidity, with the amount payable on closing subject to standard working capital adjustments.

The transaction is scheduled to close by the end of March 2022, subject to usual conditions precedent, including UK foreign investment clearance.

“The potential global market for WAE is significant and will extend beyond the decarbonisation of Fortescue, further demonstrating our commitment to the diversification of Fortescue to a renewable energy and resources company,” outgoing Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines said.

FMG shares last traded at $20.94 on January 21.

FMG by the numbers
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