Blackstone Energy Partners acquires Sabre electric infrastructure firm

Private equity investment giant Blackstone is adding to its growing energy portfolio by acquiring an electric transmission equipment and battery storage manufacturer.

Funds affiliated with Blackstone are buying Sabre Industries Inc. Texas-based Sabre designs and makes overhead steel poles, towers, battery storage solutions and offers services for electric utility and telecom customers.

Blackstone Energy Partners, the vehicle for this acquisition, was created to invest in the transition to cleaner, more affordable energy, the company said. (Full disclosure: Blackstone owns Clarion Events, the parent company of Power Engineering, POWERGRID International, DISTRIBUTECH International and POWERGEN International).

 “We are excited about investing in Sabre, as the company is well-positioned to benefit from increasing investment by electrical utilities and telecom industry participants in their network infrastructure,” John Paul Munfa, senior managing director at Blackstone, said in a statement. “It has longstanding customer relationships, and it has a truly outstanding management team which has delivered a track record of industry-leading safety, customer satisfaction, and profitable growth. Our investment in Sabre builds upon Blackstone’s experience of prior investments in utility-related businesses, such as GridLiance and Custom Truck One Source.”    

Sabre’s product offerings include substations, poles, energy storage cabinets, coatings and telecom services. Former Valmont executive and current Sabre CEO Jim Ruddy, who has been with the company since 2013, said the investment by Blackstone will accelerate Sabre’s growth and also thanked long-time investor The Jordan Company for its support.

Last year, Blackstone funds committed $250 million toward ClearGen, a company built to own distributed energy and sustainable energy infrastructure assets. Some of those types of infrastructure would include microgrids and on-site combined heat and power (CHP) facilities, according to reports.

Overall, Blackstone Energy Partners has invested more than $18 billion in equity toward energy sector companies.

Former ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, who is a Blackstone senior advisor, has agreed to be appointed chairperson of the Sabre Board of Direcdtors. Spiesshofer praised ClearGen’s “unique business model” and long-term connection to the electric utility sector.

The acquisition, pending closing conditions, is expected to be completed by the second quarter.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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