Three Gorges Leads Bidding for X-Elio Spanish Assets

China Three Gorges Corp. is emerging as the leading bidder for Spanish solar park assets owned by X-Elio Energy SL, in what could become one of the few Chinese acquisitions in Europe this year, people familiar with the matter said.

The state-owned firm is in advanced talks to acquire 13 photovoltaic power stations from X-Elio after edging out other potential buyers, the people said. The assets could be valued at 500 million euros ($571 million) to 600 million euros, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Three Gorges and the Spanish renewable developer are hammering out final terms of an agreement and could announce a deal as soon as the next few days, the people said. Negotiations are ongoing, and talks could still fall apart, the people said.

Other bidders remain interested in the assets, according to the people. Shanghai Electric Power Co., another state-backed electricity generator, was also among the shortlisted bidders for the portfolio, Bloomberg News reported in June.

An agreement would represent a rare overseas deal by a Chinese company as governments in Europe and the U.S. stepped up scrutiny on investments amid escalating political tensions. The volume of Chinese outbound acquisitions fell 34% in the first half of the year to $24.5 billion, the lowest tally for that period since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Founded in 2005, Madrid-based X-Elio runs 41 solar plants and operates in 12 countries, according to its website. The company is co-owned by Brookfield Renewable Partners LP and private equity firm KKR & Co.

Representatives for Brookfield, KKR and X-Elio declined to comment, while representatives for Three Gorges and Shanghai Electric Power didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Chinese companies have shown an interest in expanding in the Iberian peninsula. Shanghai Electric was previously pursuing Spanish renewable energy assets owned by construction firm ACS that ended up being bought by Galp Energia SGPS SA, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Three Gorges last year called off a $10 billion takeover of EDP-Energias de Portugal SA.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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