MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - More than ten bidders have made indicative offers for Italian solar plants being sold by Glennmont Partners, three sources said, in a further sign of growing appetite for green energy assets in Italy.
The three plants, with an overall capacity of 85 megawatts, have drawn bids from a mix of Italian and international players including renewable energy group Erg (ERG.MI), JP Morgan’s Sonnedix and infrastructure fund F2i.
The bids value the portfolio at about 350 million euros ($411 million), two of the sources said.
After an end to generous state subsidies, Italy’s fragmented solar industry is fast consolidating, driven by falling costs and a new government keen to speed up the switch to green energy.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, part of the ruling coalition with the far-right League, has said it wants to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 by ramping up renewable energy production.
Non-binding bids for the portfolio were submitted on July 25 and due diligence is expected to start as early as September, two of the sources said.
A shortlist will be ready in about 10 days with binding bids due in October, one of the sources said.
Glennmont, which also has 285 MW of wind farms in Italy, is being advised by Rothschild and L&B Partners while law firm Orrick is in charge of the legal work.
“It’s not a big portfolio and so I presume the sale can be wrapped up fairly quickly, certainly before the end of the year,” one of the sources said.
Besides Erg, Sonnedix and F2i, Italian utility A2A (A2.MI), investment funds Cubico, NextEnergy Capital and Tages, and Asian bidders also worked on the dossier and are waiting to see if they made it through to the second round, two sources said.
F2i, which is partly owned by Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, has a solar joint venture with Europe’s biggest utility Enel (ENEI.MI). But a source said F2i was bidding alone.
“F2i has a target of 1 gigawatt of installed capacity and with Glenmont they would reach 800-850 MW, so they can easily do this deal after RTR,” the source said.
Last week F2i said it had agreed to buy Terra Firma’s Italian 334 MW solar portfolio (RTR) for 1.3 billion euros in a deal that will make it Europe’s No. 3 solar operator.
All the companies involved declined to comment or were not immediately available for a comment. A2A has previously said it would be looking at the assets.
Additional reporting by Stefano Berra; Editing by Alexandra Hudson