Business Irish

Friday 23 August 2019

Amarenco completes €158m solar funding deal

Growth plans: Amarenco is headed by former Bord Gáis CEO John Mullins
Growth plans: Amarenco is headed by former Bord Gáis CEO John Mullins

David Chance

Amarenco's investment platform Infram Energy has reached the financial close of the final tranche of a long-term financing facility for its operational solar asset portfolio, which brings its total finance programme to €158m.

Amarenco, which is headed by John Mullins, the former chief executive of Bord Gáis, acts as the management services provider to Infram Energy on its solar development, financing, construction and operational projects.

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Infram Energy was established in 2017 between Amarenco and Infracapital's Greenfield Fund, with 85MW of operational solar assets in France.

Infracapital is the investment arm of Prudential-owned M&G Investments, and the joint venture aims to roll out as much as €1bn of projects over five years.

"This is a significant strategic financing transaction for Infram Energy, streamlining the financing process of its business, reducing its cost of capital and providing a low-cost, flexible source of finance for its development and construction asset pipeline," said Amarenco chief investment officer Nick Howard.

Infram Energy was supported by Finergreen acting as financial adviser, and LPA-CGR acting as legal adviser.

The long-term financing facilities were arranged jointly by Landesbank Saar and Auxfip, with BPIFrance Financement participating as co-lender. They provide Infram Energy with long-term finance for its 70MW operating asset portfolio, comprising a mix of ground-mounted, agricultural barn and greenhouse solar assets in France.

Amarenco is waiting for clarity from the Government here over renewable energy tariffs, as it has plans for €200m of investments in Ireland once it has certainty on the regulatory pricing environment.

It has said 250 jobs will be created during the construction phase, with 10 permanent jobs once the farms are operational.

There has been a boom in planning applications for wind farms, as Ireland struggles to meet its climate change goals.

Electricity production here is the most polluting in Europe thanks to Ireland's heavy dependence on coal-fired generation.

Amarenco has secured full planning approval for several sites here. Investors in Amarenco include tech guru Bill McCabe's Oyster Capital, and Ian Quinn, the founder of medical device firm Creganna, who is also Amarenco's chairman.

Irish Independent

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