Macquarie puts faith in Asia-Pac solar

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The glut of solar panels and cells it is expected will pour out of China after a cooling in domestic demand may mean strife for manufacturers there but the resulting fall in prices is enough to have prompted global infrastructure investment company Macquarie to take a punt on solar.

The Green Investment Group (GIG) bought by Macquarie from the U.K. government a year ago this morning announced the acquisition of Conergy Asia & ME from U.S.-based financial giants Tennenbaum Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs for an undisclosed sum.

And the acquisition will raise eyebrows not just because of a headline statement on the press release announcing the move that referred to GIG’s “waste-from-energy” expertise.

With uncertainty clouding the future of China’s big solar manufacturers following the abrupt climbdown on solar incentives announced by the Beijing authorities in May, Macquarie’s move to acquire a famous brand which has developed more than 500 MW of solar projects in the Asia-Pacific region, 2 GW worldwide, and which almost trebled GIG’s workforce, is a signal of confidence in the industry.

Another twist for Conergy brand

The move will spark another change of owner for staff at Conergy, which started out as a solar manufacturer in Hamburg, Germany, before falling victim to the first wave of cheap Chinese panels in July 2013. U.S.-based private equity firm Kawa Capital Management acquired the brand and development business at that point, and sold the company on to Tennebaum and Goldman Sachs last August.

Neil Arora, Head of Macquarie Capital for Asia and the Middle East, said: “We are pleased to enhance our solar energy capabilities from development through to design, engineering, procurement and delivery management, to build on Macquarie Capital’s solar energy track record across Asia Pacific. Today’s acquisition will also further strengthen our battery storage expertise and allow us to pursue other investment opportunities in a rapidly-growing region for the renewables sector.”

Daniel Wong, Global Co-head of Infrastructure and Energy for Macquarie Capital, said: “This acquisition underscores our ambition for the Green Investment Group to advance its position as a world leading developer and investor in green energy projects in Asia and globally – across offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, waste to energy, battery storage and energy efficiency. I’m delighted to welcome the Conergy team to GIG.”