MADRID/LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - Several Spanish clean
energy companies are planning stock market listings or stake
sales within the next two years, taking advantage of a market
boom in green assets to raise funds to build more wind farms and
Rising demand for environmentally friendly investments is
focusing attention on Spain's under-exploited solar and more
established wind sector, helped by government targets in line
with international requirements to decarbonise economies and
stem climate change.
International groups Acciona and Repsol
have started the process of spinning off energy units that could
be valued in the billions of euros. Acciona plans a listing and
Repsol has given itself 1-1/2 years for an IPO or stake sale to
Madrid plans to preside over a tripling of its installed
solar power generation and a boost to wind which will add 60
gigawatts (GW) in new capacity this decade. The European Union
as a whole wants to reduce its planet-warming emissions to net
zero - no more than can be absorbed by carbon-sucking trees or
other technology - by 2050.
Iberdrola, Spain's biggest power firm, will plough
some of its 150 billion-euro investment plan for the next decade
into tripling its renewable capacity worldwide.
With sunny Spain at the forefront of Europe's shift to
renewables, many clean power developers there are hiring banks
to evaluate whether to sell shares to private bidders or on
stock markets, financial sources say.
Newer firms Capital Energy and Opdenergy have joined the
queue looking for ways to raise funds, according to bankers
familiar with those situations.
Capital Energy has hired Goldman Sachs and UBS
to advise it on a potential share sale, while Opdenergy
has taken on Santander and Citi, people familiar
with the matter said. A spokesman for Capital Energy said the
company was analysing several financing options. Opdenergy
declined to comment.
The banks declined to comment or were not immediately
available for comment.
"Renewables is a sector with ... high growth, high
visibility and unlike many other growth sectors these
companies are already making a profit," said Philip ten Bosch,
co-head of global power investment banking at Citi.
He added that valuations for pure play clean energy firms
are at a clear premium to more diversified utilities, providing
the rationale for a spin-offs, though he declined to discuss
Record levels of money has built up in funds that require
strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials,
stoking demand for green stocks.
But government bond yields have risen in recent weeks,
taking some steam out of growth stocks like renewables, and
bankers said this has muddied the investment case slightly,
though demand for ESG remains strong.
"Those who have the best assets and the best strategy will
have more options but some look opportunistic," said one banker
involved in some of these situations.
S&P Global's Clean Energy Index has fallen 8% so
far this year, although it has held on to 94% growth over the
past 12 months, in spite of pandemic-induced recession.
SPAIN'S SOLAR SURGE
Going green is a global trend, but Spain stands out for fast
growth partly motivated by a sharp fall in the price of solar
panel technology that has helped erase the memory of painful
subsidy cuts in 2013.
Madrid plans to preside over the installation of more than
39 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic technology by 2030, more
than triple its current fleet.
And financial investors are now so keen for a ray of
sunshine that they are buying into projects before they are
built, said Peter Dickson, partner and technical director at
London-based investment fund Glenmont Partners.
"An infrastructure investor will normally try not to take
too much development risk," Dickson said.
But this has changed as the market became more competitive,
Strong financial backing has become more important for
developers, said Tomas Garcia, Senior Director of Energy and
Infrastructure Advisory at Jones Lang LaSalle.
"Development is becoming more capital intensive and more
sophisticated, so some smaller developers will need to get that
capital and a more professional approach from an international
investment fund, for example."
(Editing by David Evans)