Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power to focus more on renewable energy projects: CEO

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - ACWA Power plans to focus more on renewable energy projects, lifting their share of its portfolio to 70% over the next decade, its chief executive and president said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Acwa Power-generating windmills are pictured in Jbel Sendouq, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco, June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/File Photo

The current value of the Saudi Arabian utility developer’s portfolio is more than $42 billion, with renewables accounting for 23%.

“By 2030, we expect to see 70% of renewables in our portfolio in terms of capital employed,” Paddy Padmanthan told Reuters in an interview at the World Energy Congress.

“We expect to see, in any given year, 60% of new investments in renewables.”

Acwa Power, which develops power and desalinated water plants, plans to expand into new markets, but will maintain its portfolio balance of 50% in Saudi Arabia and 50% overseas.

The company has assets in 12 countries and has bid for renewable energy projects in five new countries – Ethiopia, Tunisia, Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

“We are responding to demand, seeking growth and seeking a balance,” Padmanthan said.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which already holds a 25% stake in Acwa, plans to increase its stake to 40%, Acwa’s managing director, Yasir al-Rumayyan, said in February.

Padmanthan said plans for an initial public offering (IPO) remained, with banks still working with Acwa.

“First, the PIF stake increase has to be done, we are working on broadening the shareholder base in readiness to go to the public,” he said, declining to give a timeline.

Editing by Mark Potter