Origin Energy consortium quits bidding for Australia's CWP Renewables

SYDNEY, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Origin Energy and its Canadian pension fund partner have dropped out of the running to acquire Australian renewable energy developer CWP Renewables, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Their withdrawal leaves at least two final bidders for CWP, which has an estimated value of around A$4 billion ($2.7 billion), they added.

Origin had been working with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) to bid for CWP Renewables, but the consortium was unable to meet last Friday’s deadline for final bids after itself receiving an A$18.4 billion buyout offer, the sources said.

Origin declined to comment as the bidding process is confidential and CDPQ did not respond to a request for comment sent outside Canadian business hours. CWP also declined to comment.

The sources could not be named as the information is not yet public.

Spain’s Iberdrola and Tilt Renewables, which is partly owned by AGL Energy, remain in the race, according to the sources.

Iberdrola did not respond to a request for comment outside of European business hours. Tilt did not immediately respond.

The winning bidder is due to be announced by the end of the week, one of the sources said.

CWP Renewables owns two operating wind farms and one nearly completed wind farm, as well as four proposed wind farms, an approved solar project and three energy storage projects, all in the state of New South Wales.

The sale by CWP’s owner, private equity firm Partners Group, comes as Australia looks to accelerate its transition to cleaner energy, aiming to have 82% of power in the National Electricity Market from renewable energy by 2030, up from less than 30% in the year to June 2021.

$1 = 1.4641 Australian dollars Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney; Writing by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kirsten Donovan