Iberdrola abandons race to acquire X-Elio

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Bilbao-based energy company Iberdrola has decided not to present an offer to acquire X-Elio, a source close to the matter told pv magazine this week. The utility’s decision to exit the race leaves three potential bidders to compete for control of the Spanish PV project developer: Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, Japan’s Orix and Spanish oil producer Repsol.

Spanish financial newspaper ElEconomista has also revealed that the auction to sell the company — which is 80% owned by U.S. fund KKR and 20% by Spanish group Gestamp — initially attracted expressions of interest from 43 unspecified entities. The article also reveals that X-Elio’s operations could be split between operational assets and assets under construction, based on the offers submitted.

Another Spanish financial newspaper, Cinco Días, reported in October that KKR had hired Citi and Macquarie to find another investor to raise capital for X-Elio so it could expand its installed portfolio to 2.5 GW by next year — a feat that would require an investment of around €3 billion.

X-Elio was the second-largest PV contractor in an auction held by the Spanish government in July 2017, in which it was awarded 455 MW. The plants are scheduled to start operations by the end of this year. In addition, it recently signed a PPA for two 50 MW solar projects in southern Spain’s Murcia region.

The company is also active in other solar markets such as the U.S., Japan, Mexico and Chile.