European investors pile into John Mullins' €150m solar fund
INVESTMENT vehicles from Holland, France and Denmark are keen to plug into an energy fund set up this year by former Bord Gais boss John Mullins.
Amarenco Solar, which Mr Mullins founded to invest as much as €150m in solar power projects in France and the UK, has just launched its first fund.
The sub-fund is investing in solar energy assets in Provence, in the south of France, that are expected to generate annual yield of 8pc. The fund – the French Solar Fund – will have a target return of 10.5pc over 10 years.
Assets the fund has invested in have 20-year contracts to supply energy to Electricite de France. When Mr Mullins launched Amarenco, he said the firm hoped to target some 200MW of investments, including assets in the UK.
But he told the Irish Independent that investors in the fund wanted a higher return than buying UK assets would yield, and that uncertainty in Britain related to energy policy also meant a decision was made to wait until political machinations had played out.
Mr Mullins said that in France there are about 75MW of solar projects the company is in the process of investing in. The investments in those assets – which are also solar schemes in Provence and each up to about 12MW in size – should be completed within six months. The French Solar Fund also applied to be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.
Mr Mullins said he is likely to make a decision next month regarding possible investments in the fund by Dutch, French and Danish vehicles, and said that if they came on board it would be as minority investors.
The fund boss continues to line up financing for the deals as he signs agreements to invest in assets.
A roadshow for Irish investors led by Davy Stockbrokers was held in September. Amarenco hoped to raise between €25m and €50m from high net-worth individuals.