Wednesday 18 October 2017

Amarenco seals merger with French solar firm

John Mullins, CEO Amarenco
John Mullins, CEO Amarenco
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Amarenco Solar, the Irish investor and asset manager of renewable energy founded by former Bord Gáis boss John Mullins, is merging its French operation with Groupe Carré, a solar power developer in France.

The merged group - called Amarenco France - is now one of the main developers and producers of renewable energy in France.

It aims to become one of the leading vertically integrated producers of renewable energy in the country. It expects the group's consolidated turnover to hit €25m next year.

Amarenco is already involved in a number of solar farm projects in France, a market it first entered in 2014. It has co-invested more than €300m with partners there.

Groupe Carré was founded in 2008. It has more than 100MW of solar projects installed.

Mr Mullins said the merger with Groupe Carré follows an initial collaboration last year.

"It became very clear that we were working very well together and were mutually contributing to our success in the market," he said.

"A merger is clearly the sensible outcome and we now look forward to maximising the combined strengths of both companies," added Mr Mullins.

Earlier this year, Amarenco entered a joint venture agreement with Infracapital, the investment arm of Prudential-owned M&G Investments, to roll out as much as €1bn worth of renewable energy projects over the next five years.

As part of the agreement, Infracapital invested in an initial portfolio of three operational solar energy projects in France developed by Amarenco. Those sites generate 75MW of electricity and have a 20-year supply deal.

Amarenco also took a less than 10pc stake in French crowd-funding firm Lumo this year. The La Rochelle-based company specifically enables people to invest in renewable energy projects.

In Ireland, Amarenco has full planning approval in Munster for solar farms capable of generating as much as 50MW of power. Development of those solar farms will cost more than €60m. Amarenco said it is ready to proceed with its partner to roll out the schemes.

"We have the funds and are ready to invest, but our plans are on hold until the Government clarifies its view on solar energy," said Mr Mullins.

The Government has pledged to deliver a policy initiative in relation to solar power development.

Plans for a number of large-scale solar projects have been rejected by local councils over the past year because no spatial strategy exists for their development at a national, regional or local level.

Irish Independent

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