Huge deal for Obton: buying Italian solar plants for DKK 4 billion
As from the spring of 2022, Obton has taken over a portfolio of 144 operational solar plants at locations all over Italy. “The deal is our biggest to date, promoting us to a whole new league in the solar energy sector,” says Anders Marcus, CEO.
Obton invests in solar energy on behalf of Danish investors. Most recently, this has resulted in a billion-kroner deal in Italy, whose successful conclusion is largely attributable to the work of Mikkel Berthelsen, EVP, Chief Acquisition Officer, and his dedicated department.
“It’s one of the most important deals to have been completed so far this year on the Italian solar energy market, and we are, of course, extremely pleased and proud that we brought it safely home. It was a drawn-out process and we worked really hard to nail down all the details. Fortunately, we have a team of highly skilled staff and partners in Italy, who provided invaluable help in getting us over the finish line,” says Mikkel Berthelsen.
The portfolio comprises 144 solar plants spread all over Italy. The plants have already been operating for up to ten years, and Obton is now seeking to boost their production through comprehensive investment in a programme to upgrade both the technology and the components.
Two-pillar business case
Mikkel Berthelsen explains that the business case rests on two pillars:
“Firstly, we’ll be looking to upgrade all the installations where it makes sense to do so. Solar cell technology has come a long way over the past decade, and the modules have become a lot more efficient. We will therefore be replacing many of the old solar PV modules with bifacial modules that can exploit the solar irradiation on both front and rear sides of the panel, or setting up what are known as ‘trackers’, which enable the solar PV modules to follow the sun as it moves across the sky during the day. We estimate that this will make it possible to increase production by as much as 22 percent,” he relates, continuing:
“The other pillar of the business case centres on the fact that we have completed comprehensive refinancing and corporate restructuring of the entire portfolio. All in all, this means that we are now in possession of an extremely attractive asset – especially for our investors.”
Deal with broad perspectives
Obton closing a deal of this size is an event that resonates throughout the international solar energy sector. The deal is therefore of great significance to Obton’s future opportunities in the market, as Anders Marcus, CEO of Obton, explains:
“This deal has promoted Obton to the premier league. We’ve strongly signalled to the sector that we have both the financial muscle and the skill set to close complex transactions valued in the billions. It bodes well for the future and is perfectly in tune with our ambitious growth strategy,” he says.
Impact fund owns the portfolio
The entire Italian portfolio has been purchased for Obton’s large Impact fund, which was fully subscribed earlier this year. The Impact fund numbers almost 1,500 Danish investors, who have injected DKK 2.6 billion into it. Including loan financing, the fund has purchased solar energy projects in ten different countries so far, with a total value of more than DKK 12.2 billion.
Facts about the portfolio:
- The portfolio comprises 144 Italian solar energy plants located in 15 different regions.
- The plants have been established on land sites, roofs and greenhouses, and were commissioned in the period 2009–13.
- It is expected that the work to upgrade the plants will be completed in the first six months of 2023, and that it will result in a 22 percent increase in production.
- All solar PV modules and other components that are disassembled will be reused elsewhere or sold.
- The applicable tariffs (state-guaranteed electricity prices) of EUR 0.33/kWh are set to expire in 2031, after which the power generated will be sold via PPAs or on the open electricity market.