France’s Engie purchases solar park developer Solairedirect

02/07/2015 00:00

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French gas and power conglomerate Engie declared it has acquired 95 percent of French solar park developer and operator Solairedirect for only around 200 million euros ($222 million), making it the major solar operator in France and bring it a portfolio of projects abroad.

Engie, previously known as GDF Suez, stated the takeover was done through a 130 million euro capital raise at Solairedirect and that current management will preserve a 5 percent stake in the company. The firm mentioned that with a cost of $60 to $90 per kilowatt/hour, solar is presently cheaper than offshore wind or new-generation nuclear. Engie shares rose by 1.7 percent at midday, underachieving a 2.6 percent increase of the CAC40 index. In April, Solairedirect delayed a scheduled 175 million euro initial public offering because of the lack of demand. Solairedirect has constructed 57 solar parks with total capacity of 486 MW since its foundation in 2006 and today runs gross capacity of 224 MW in France. The purchase will augment Engie's gross installed solar capacity in France to 383 megawatts (MW). Solairedirect has a portfolio of projects totaling 4,500 MW in countries counting South Africa, India, Chile, the United States, Mexico and Thailand. Several 434 MW should be constructed in the next 6 to 18 months. Engie has total installed renewables capacity of 19,000 MW, which represents approximately 17 percent of its total electricity generation capacity globally, and has additional 27,000 MW under construction or development.

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