Equitix Closes the Purchase of 60% of Acea’s PV: AE Sun Capital is Created
Following the closing, AE Sun Capital, which is 60% Equitix and 40% Acea Produzione, acquired from Acea Produzione a portfolio of photovoltaic plants with a total installed capacity of 105 MW, of which 46 MW are incentivized on the basis of different Energy Accounts and 59 MW of new construction already connected or in the process of being connected to the grid.
Equitix, the British asset manager specialized in infrastructures, has closed the acquisition of 60% of a newco to which Acea Group (the multi-utility of RomaCapitale) has conferred the photovoltaic plants already in operation or being connected to the grid in Italy, and to which the name AE Sun Capital has been given.
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AE Sun Capital is 60% Equitix and 40% Acea Produzione
Equitix had won the auction for the photovoltaic assets put on the market last spring by the Rome-based company, a leader in the water sector and one of the top operators in the electricity distribution, energy, and environment sectors. The transaction, which was conducted through Equitix Investment Management Limited, was announced on Christmas Eve for a value of $241.5 million (€220 million), equal to 10 times the projected 2022 Ebitda of the assets involved in the transaction. Equitix’s offer was in competition with that of Tages sgr’s Helios II fund.
L&B Partners assisted AE Sun Capital in structuring a loan of approximately $208.6 million (€190 million) with a pool of banks consisting of Intesa Sanpaolo, ING, Natixis CIB and BPCE Lease. For the activities of legal due diligence, negotiation, and finalization of the financial documentation, AE Sun Capital was assisted by Legance Avvocati Associati. Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe assisted Acea for the M&A profiles and project contracts, in the preparation of the documentation for the selection of lenders in the context of the tender called by Acea, and in the negotiation of the preliminary financial documentation. REA conducted the technical due diligence activities on behalf of the borrower through a multidisciplinary team. Clifford Chance acted as legal advisor to the pool of banks in the structuring and negotiation of the complex financing transaction. The part relating to administrative law aspects was followed by Studio Police & Partners. The banks were also assisted by Fichtner as technical advisor and by KPMG as model auditor.
Following the closing, AE Sun Capital, which is 60% Equitix and 40% Acea Produzione, acquired from Acea Produzione a portfolio of photovoltaic plants with a total installed capacity of 105 MW, of which 46 MW are incentivized on the basis of different Energy Accounts and 59 MW of new construction already connected or in the process of being connected to the grid. Acea will maintain the management of the plants through multi-year contracts with the vehicles of the photovoltaic holding company relating to operation and maintenance and asset management activities. Acea Group has also committed to take back the energy produced by the newly built plants on the basis of long-term power purchase agreements (PPA). In addition, the newco will be able to evaluate access to a pipeline of photovoltaic plants up to around 500 MW under development by the Acea Group.
It should also be noted that the transaction is part of Acea’s 2020-2024 industrial plan, approved in October 2020 (see here the press release of that time and here the presentation to analysts), according to which the group aims to increase the installed power from photovoltaic plants to 747 megawatts by the end of 2024, precisely also through partnerships with financial operators.
As for Equitix, with its infrastructure funds in Italy it has already invested in both energy and hospital services. On the first front, we recall that in June 2021 it bought 5% of Dolomiti Energia Holding, one of the main Italian unlisted multi-utilities. The seller was FT Energia, a vehicle controlled by La Finanziaria Trentina.
In January 2020, instead, Equitix, through its Equitix Fund III and Fund IV funds, had acquired four Tuscan hospitals from Astaldi, Techint, and Impresa Pizzarotti. In detail, Equitix had taken over 98% of SA.T spa, a company that holds the concession for the construction and management in project financing of the hospitals of Lucca, Pistoia, Prato, and Massa-Carrara (see other BeBeez article). In addition, Equitix in July 2015 had taken over 54% of the capital of, a vehicle company with which Guerrato, Camst, Coopservice, Servizi Italia, and other minority shareholders had completed, renovated, and expanded the hospitals of Castelfranco Veneto and Montebelluna, under an agreement signed with the Veneto Region in September 2004, which will expire in 2032.
(Featured image by fabersam via Pixabay)
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