Norwegian utility Statkraft makes $151 million swoop on Solarcentury

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian utility Statkraft has agreed to buy British solar power developer Solarcentury in a deal worth 117.7 million pounds ($151.34 million) that would boost its renewable energy output.

Statkraft is taking full control of Solarcentury, allowing its investors to cash out.

The state-owned utility is Norway’s largest hydropower producer but also has a target to develop at least 8 GW of wind and solar by 2025 internationally.

“We have an ambition to be one of the leading renewables companies globally in 2025 and we have a strong portfolio position in hydropower and wind power but modest in solar,” Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Toennesen told Reuters.

“So we looked for a solar-based acquisition, which is this one,” he said.

The British firm is backed by Scottish Equity Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Zouk Capital and Grupo Ecos among others.

As part of the deal, Solarcentury has agreed to carve out its African assets and sell them to energy trader BB Energy, a source familiar with the matter said.

The acquisition will give Statkraft access to a six gigawatt (GW) pipeline of solar projects in Europe and South America, including Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Greece, Italy and Chile.

The transaction is conditional to regulatory and local competition approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

($1 = 0.7777 pounds)

Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London and Nora Buli in Oslo, editing by Louise Heavens