Tech Billionaire’s Loan to Keep Singapore Solar Dream Alive
(Bloomberg) — Billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes’s Grok Ventures will provide a A$65 million ($45 million) loan to keep collapsed renewable energy startup Sun Cable operational while administrators seek a buyer.
The funding will include a six-month interest-free period, Grok said in a statement Friday.
Sun Cable entered voluntary administration last week amid a falling out between Atlassian Corp. co-founder Cannon-Brookes and iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest. The billionaires, both investors in the company, are at odds over whether to use clean electricity from a planned giant solar project in Australia for local use, or to export it to Singapore.
News of the injection of finance comes as administrator FTI Consulting Inc. told creditors at a meeting Friday that the company will continue its project development pipeline ahead of its sale. FTI said it expects to shortly appoint bankers to run a sale process, which it anticipates taking about three months.
Forrest’s Squadron Energy made an alternative funding proposal that hasn’t been taken up, according to a person familiar with the offer, who requested anonymity as the details are private. Squadron and FTI declined to comment.
“We have looked to preserve the value of Sun Cable and keep all options for the future of the project on the table,” John Park, leader of corporate finance and restructuring for FTI, said in a statement. “We will seek to crystalize the interest expressed in the future of Sun Cable into a firm offer for the benefit of creditors and other stakeholders via the sale process.”
The A$30 billion project aims to construct the world’s biggest solar farm and export the electrons to Singapore via 4,200 kilometers (2,600 miles) of undersea cable.
(Updates with details in the fifth paragraph.)
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