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Fortescue acquires WAE as electrification pursuit heats up


Fortescue Metals Group has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) from private equity firm EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited.

Worth $311 million, the deal will see Fortescue capitalise on WAE’s expertise in high-performance battery systems and electrification, a key component of the major miner’s growth strategy moving forward.

WAE will be vertically integrated into Fortescue and be managed by the company’s green energy and green technology arm, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

The mining equipment, technology and services (METS) company has already been actively engaged with Fortescue, having worked with the miner since early 2021 to design and build a prototype battery system for an electric haul truck.

Moving forward, Fortescue and WAE will develop battery electric solutions for Fortescue’s rail, mobile haul fleet and other heavy mining equipment, which will assist the miner in its goal of achieving carbon neutrality across its operations by 2030.

“This is a major milestone in the future of our company as we welcome WAE to the Fortescue family. 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,” Fortescue founder and chairman Andrew 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 chief executive officer Craig Wilson echoed Forrest’s sentiment, highlighting his company’s shared decarbonisation goal.

“High-performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE, and this acquisition and investment will facilitate the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero-emission products and services across existing sectors – such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway – and new sectors too,” he said.

“We are delighted to play a key role in Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy, contributing to the delivery of their emissions reduction targets through high-performance battery systems, green hydrogen and related technologies.”

Fortescue expects the transaction to be completed by the end of March 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

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