French Solar Farm Owner Plans New-Share Sale to Fund Growth

(Bloomberg) -- French solar farm developer Tenergie SAS and a financial partner are considering selling new shares and plan to buy clean power operators to help expand into the wind and hydropower sectors as demand for cleaner energy continues to increase.

Tenergie wants to diversify its business to better position itself to sell renewable power directly to companies and communities. It’s as France moves to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power and curb its remaining coal-fired capacity to make room for cleaner energy. The company currently sells the bulk of its power output to state-run Electricite de France SA -- the country’s main producer -- via long-term contracts.

Terre d’Energie, which is 69% owned by Tenergie and 31% by Credit Agricole Pyrenees Gascogne, hopes to attract investors this year to help fund its expansion plans, Tenergie Executive Vice President Finance and M&A Philippe Rochet told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“We need to diversify our mix to create a sound renewable platform over the next two to three years,” Rochet said. “We want to remain in control to prepare tomorrow’s business.”

Terre d’Energie’s plants currently have about 500 megawatts of production capacity, and may expand by acquiring and integrating independent clean power developers into the company, Rochet said. Tenergie will retain operational control of the venture, although its stake may fall below 50% in the process, he said.

“A partnership with a utility or an oil company isn’t on the agenda as we want to remain independent,” Rochet said.

The group, founded in 2008, has largely grown through acquisitions and earned about 200 million euros ($222 million) in revenue in 2019. To optimize costs and prepare for the increase in capital, Tenergie and its investment arm have refinanced more than 1 billion euros of bank loans and sold 70 million euros of bonds to BlackRock Inc. last year. Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, said on Thursday it’s adding its almost $7 trillion heft to a group of investors that’s pressing the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases to change their ways.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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