Historic transaction is a culmination of eight months of intense effort and will be transformative to six Alberta First Nations communities

EDMONTON, AB – September 9, 2020 – Backwoods Energy Services (Backwoods), one of the largest diversified Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada, is pleased to announce the closing of an investment by a consortium of six First Nations, the Indigenous Communities Syndicate LP (ICS) in the $1.5-billion Cascade Power Plant project. Cascade is a 900MW combined cycle power plant that will provide eight per cent of Alberta’s energy supply.

The ICS is owned by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Enoch Cree Nation, Kehewin Cree Nation, O’Chiese First Nation, Paul First Nation and Whitefish Lake First Nation. The ICS completed the acquisition with its co-investment partner Canadian based pension fund, OPTrust.

“The Backwoods team developed and executed on an incredibly creative and accretive structure that added meaningful value,” said Simon Moody, Director, OPTrust. “OPTrust is proud to be a part of a transaction that demonstrates how Investors, Industry, Government and Indigenous communities can work collaboratively for the betterment of all stakeholders.”

The transaction also involved a $93-million loan guarantee by the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC).

“We are pleased to have supported this transaction in the Cascade Power Project that provides significant benefit to the six First Nation investors, is based on commercial terms, and meets all other AIOC criteria,” said Alicia DuBois, CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. “This is a momentous deal and I’m proud for this to be the first project approved by the AIOC. I want to especially thank the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and their team at Backwoods for their hard work to design and structure this meaningful transaction that will bring lasting prosperity to Indigenous communities in Alberta.”

The AIOC investment into this important piece of provincial infrastructure will be transformative to all six First Nations and will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in cashflow for future generations. The Cascade project also represents an important step toward financial independence and self-reliance for First Nations in Alberta.
“Being the first AIOC approved transaction was a real test. Standards and criteria were extremely high and time frames were challenging. This was a complex financial transaction with multiple participants, and we are pleased to be part of the first AIOC approved transaction on strictly commercial terms,” said Paul Poscente, CEO, Backwoods Energy Services.

“I would like to thank the team at Agentis Capital for their efforts on this transaction as well as Scott Alanen for his extraordinary work as the point person on the Backwoods team. This deal is meaningful to so many for decades to come and I believe our work here can be a national blueprint for how major energy and infrastructure projects can be successfully financed on commercial terms and built to include Indigenous peoples.”

For more information, please visit backwoodsenergy.ca

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