Sharp weighing sale of Recurrent Energy

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Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corp. is reportedly looking to sell its U.S. solar-energy development division Recurrent Energy.

Citing documents that it had obtained, Bloomberg on Monday reported that the company had tapped Bank of Nova Scotia to assist in the sale of the San Francisco-based Recurrent.

Sharp’s photovoltaic unit, previously known as Solar Cells but now known as Energy Solutions, suffered a 97% drop in profit to JPY 183 million ($1.3 million) in the first fiscal quarter, due in part to a decline in residential solar sales in Japan.

The sale would be in line with Sharp’s recent moves, including a halt in module manufacturing in the United States and the United Kingdom this year. In July, the company also announced it was selling its stake in Italian thin-film module manufacturing joint venture 3Sun to Enel Green Power and paying the Italian group €95 million to take over its purchase obligations to 3Sun.

A Sharp spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the group was considering “various options for Recurrent, including sale of the company,” but added that nothing had been decided at this point.

Sharp acquired Recurrent in 2010 for $305 million. According to the group, Recurrent raised more than $2.3 billion in equity and debt financing last year and brought 303 MW into operation.

Recurrent has developed and sold more than 680 MW of projects in the U.S. and Canada and has more than 4.3 GW under development, Bloomberg reported.

In November, Recurrent agreed to sell six solar plants in California and Arizona to Google and private equity group KKR for $400 million.

It’s not the first time that media speculation has swirled around a possible sale of Recurrent Energy: Two years ago rumors of an imminent sale also made headlines.