Brookfield to invest C$750 million in TransAlta's clean energy push

Bruce Flatt, CEO, Brookfield Asset Management Inc, speaks at the Milken Institute's 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Canada’s TransAlta Corp said on Monday Brookfield Asset Management will invest C$750 million ($559.1 million) in the company as it aims to become a clean energy producer by 2025.

The investment from Brookfield Renewable Partners, majority owned by the Canada-based asset manager, will be convertible to an ownership in TransAlta’s hydro assets in Alberta in the future, TransAlta said in a statement. Brookfield currently owns about 5 percent in the company.

The asset manger has also agreed to buy shares in the company to increase its stake to 9 percent, TransAlta said.

Calgary-based TransAlta has been under shareholder scrutiny lately for recording losses over the past two years.

Meanwhile, activist investor Mangrove Partners has notified TransAlta its intention to nominate five candidates for election to TransAlta board at its annual meeting. TransAlta will review Mangrove’s notice, it said in a separate statement.

Last week, Mangrove Partners and Bluescape Energy Partners sought changes in TransAlta’s management structure.

As part of the latest investment deal with Brookfield, TransAlta said it will add Harry Goldgut and Richard Legault, both nominated by Brookfield, to its slate of directors for election at the annual meeting on April 26.

TransAlta also said it and Brookfield will form a joint experts committee, for a period of six years, to focus on optimizing the operations of TransAlta’s Hydro Assets.

The company plans to spend C$350 million of the Brookfield investment to advance its coal-to-gas transition strategy, up to C$250 million to buy back shares over three years, and the rest to develop existing and new projects.

Reporting by Debroop Roy; additional reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Gopakumar Warrier