Mott MacDonald advises on acquisition in renewable energy space

04 November 2016 Consultancy.uk

French-based renewable energy development company Voltalia recently acquired Martifer Solar, providing a considerable boost to its global portfolio and capacity. The deal, the value of which is not disclosed, is looked over by technical advisory firm Mott MacDonald.

Voltalia is a France-based provider of renewable energy, founded in 2005. The company is today active in 30 countries globally, providing expertise in solar, wind, hydro and biomass. Voltalia has around 130 staff, with revenues of close to 60 million euro, and has installed around 400 MW in renewable energy capacity.

Martifer Solar was established in 2006 and is headquartered in Portugal. The company has since grown to employ more than 250 people with a presence in 17 countries across the globe. Martifer has installed around 670 MW of solar energy all over the world, across all market segments, from Ground-mounted to Off-grid Solutions.

Voltalia acquires Martifer Solar, Mott MacDonald provides technical advisory

Voltalia has fully acquired Martifer Solar for an undisclosed sum. The deal provides Voltalia with a considerable boost to its portfolio in the form of active engineering, procurement and construction project, as well as furthering the company’s geographical presence. In addition, the deal opens up an additional development pipeline, while rebalances Voltalia’s service offering in favour of solar energy.

As part of the deal, Mott MacDonald provided technical due diligence for Voltalia surrounding both the corporate and project levels of Martifer Solar’s operations. The due diligence process saw the firm work closely with its client to determine a “robust evaluation methodology” for the investigation of the target. The work disclosed Martifer Solar’s projects, including 1.343 MW of projects under development, 85 MW under construction and 585 MW at operational level.

Johana Trujillo, Mott MacDonald’s Solar Programme Director, says, “This acquisition involved the review of over 50 projects at various stages and in different locations across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our team of solar specialists made the most of our global presence and direct experience in merger and acquisitions to support this transaction, which we are certain will bring an even stronger player to the global solar PV market.”

CEO of Voltalia Sébastien Clerc, adds, “Over the past three years, the exceptional work carried out by our teams has seen our installed capacity multiply nine-fold and this new addition to the group will strengthen our position in the solar energy sector, the fastest growing of all renewable energy sectors. I would like to wish a warm welcome to the 266 talented team members who are joining us at Voltalia.”

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Private equity firms ramp up sustainability focus

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

In line with business leaders across the industrial gamut, private equity firms are increasingly on board with sustainability projects. According to a new study, the investment arms for major funds are implementing a number of strategies aimed at supporting sustainable economic development in line with global goals.

While the business world has finally begun to acknowledge the danger of climate change, effective action plans remain difficult to achieve. The Paris Agreement has stipulated a clear target for the decades leading up to 2100, although massively reducing emissions while not crashing the economy could be a tall order.

Businesses that are able to acquire capital can use it to boost productivity and output, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of development. However, some businesses are better able to utilise resources than others, both in terms of their relative productivity, as well as the value of the respective outcomes relative to costs (including environmental harms). Financing can therefore provide an avenue to select businesses that are aligned with various global sustainability goals, while shunning those that drive little or unsustainable social value creation.

Top moves made by investment arms towards responsible investment

Profit has for the longest time been the central criterion for investment decisions. Yet profit at any cost is increasingly seen as creating considerable social harms, while often delivering only marginal value. As a result, the private equity sector, which was initially sluggish to change its ways with regards to sustainability, has started to see the topic as an opportunity as much as a challenge.

A new study from PwC has explored how far sustainability goals have become part of the wider investment strategy for private equity (PE) firms. The report is based on analysis of a survey of 162 firms and includes responses from 145 general partners and 38 limited partners.

Maturing sustainability

Top-line results show that responsible investment has become an issue for 91% of respondents. For 81% of respondents, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) was a board matter at least once a year, while 60% said that they already have implemented measures to address human rights issues. Two-thirds have identified and prioritised Sustainable Development goals that are relevant to their investment segments.

Change in concern and action on climate-related topics over time

While there is increasing concern around key issues, from human rights protections to environmental and biodiversity protection, the study finds there are mismatches between concern and action. For instance, concern among investment vehicles around climate change has increased since 2016.

In terms of risks to the PE firm itself, concern has increased from 46% of respondents in 2016 to 58% in the latest survey. However, the number who have taken action remains far below those concerned, at 9% in 2016 and 20% in 2019. Given the relatively broader scope of investment opportunities, portfolio companies face higher risks – and more concern – from PE professionals, at 83% in the latest survey. However, action is less than half of those concerned, at 31%.

Changing climate

In terms of the climate footprint of the portfolio companies, 77% of respondents state concern in the latest survey. 28% of respondents are taking action through the implementation of measures to mitigate their concerns.

Concern and action taken on ESG issues

In terms of the more pressing issues for emerging responsible investment or ESG issues, governance concern of portfolio companies comes in at number one (92% of respondents), while 60% have taken action on it. Firms have focused on improving awareness – setting up policies and a range of training modules for their professionals around responsible investment decision making. Cybersecurity takes the number two spot, with 89% concerned and 41% implementing strategies to mitigate risks.

Climate risks take the number three spot in terms of concern for portfolio companies (83%), but falls behind in terms of action (31%). Health and safety track records are a key concern at 80% of businesses, with 49% implementing action. Gender imbalance within PE firms themselves ranks at 78%, which is being dealt with by 31%. A recent survey from Oliver Wyman showed that there is gender balance at 13% of GP teams in developed countries.

Biodiversity is also an increasingly pertinent topic, with risks from pollution and chemical use increasingly driving wider systematic risks around environmental outcomes. It featured at number eight on the ranking of most likely global risks for the coming decade, with its impact at number six. As it stands, biodiversity is noted as an issue at 57% of firms, with 15% implementing action.