Suez SA sells power plants to Lightyear

The French industrial group unloads two California assets.

French industrial conglomerate, Suez SA, agreed to sell two California electric generating facilities to a private equity group led by Lightyear Capital for a reported $80 million (€63.7 million).


Lightyear Capital, based in New York, will be joined by Rockland Capital Energy Investments, a private vehicle controlled by former executives from Texas utility El Paso. D Milne Associates, an energy specialist firm, also participated in the deal.


The plants were sold by Suez subsidiary Tractebel Power. The assets have long-term purchase agreements with the local regulated utility, according to a press release.


Last September, Suez agreed to sell its water-treatment and chemical-processing division, Ondeo Nalco, to a private equity group including The Blackstone Group, Apollo Management and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, for $4.2 billion.


Lightyear Capital manages a $750 million private equity fund and focuses broadly on buyouts, recapitalisations and growth equity investments. The firm most recently joined Harvest Partners in the $300 million purchase of Winnipeg, Canada-based bus manufacturer New Flyer Industries from distressed specialist KPS Special Situations.


Lightyear Capital’s chairman and chief executive officer is Donald Marron.


Power plants have been attractive investments to the private equity industry as large utilities have sought to slim down through asset spin-offs.