Mergers & Acquisitions

BP to acquire 43% equity in Europe’s leading solar energy company

BP to acquire 43% equity in Europe's leading solar energy company
Photo courtesy of BP.

Lightsource and BP announced last Friday that they have agreed to form a strategic partnership, bringing Lightsource’s solar development and management expertise together with BP’s global scale, relationships and trading capabilities to drive further growth across the world.

Global installed solar generating capacity more than tripled in the past four years and has grown by more than 30% in 2016 alone, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. BP’s Energy Outlook analysis sees solar as likely to generate around a third of the world’s total renewable power and up to 10% of total global power by 2035.

BP will acquire on completion a 43% equity share in Lightsource for a total consideration of USD 200 million, paid over three years. The great majority of this investment will fund Lightsource’s worldwide growth pipeline. The company will be renamed Lightsource BP and BP will have two seats on the board of directors.

“BP has been committed to advancing lower-carbon energy for over 20 years and we’re excited to be coming back to solar, but in a new and very different way. While our history in the solar industry was centred on manufacturing panels, Lightsource BP will instead grow value through developing and managing major solar projects around the world. I am confident that the combination of Lightsource’s expertise and experience with BP’s relationships and resources will propel this innovative business to even more rapid growth,” said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive.

Lightsource is a global leader in the development, acquisition and long-term management of large-scale solar projects and smart energy solutions worldwide. It has grown in just seven years to become Europe’s largest developer and operator of utility-scale solar projects. The company has commissioned 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity to date and manages approximately 2 GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts – the equivalent of powering more than half a million homes through clean energy.

“We founded Lightsource to lead the solar revolution and chose to partner with BP because, like us, their ambition is to build and grow this company for the long-term. Not only does this partnership make strategic sense, but our combined forces will be part of accelerating the low-carbon transition. Solar power is the fastest growing source of new energy and we are excited to be at the forefront of this development,” said Nick Boyle, group CEO and founder of Lightsource.

BP’s interest in Lightsource BP will complement its existing Alternative Energy business, which includes wind energy, biofuels and biopower. BP Wind Energy has interests in onshore wind energy across the U.S. with total gross generating capacity of 2.3GW. BP Biofuels has world scale plants in Brazil, which produce around 800 million litres of ethanol equivalent per year as well as generating low-carbon power for Brazil’s national grid.

Lightsource BP will target the growing demand for large-scale solar projects worldwide with a focus on grid-connected plants and corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed with private companies. The company will continue to develop and deliver Lightsource’s 6 GW growth pipeline, which is largely focused in the U.S., India, Europe and the Middle East. The company sees opportunities to create additional value through integrating solar with BP’s other businesses and trading capabilities as well as through BP’s international scale and relationships.

“We see significant opportunity to offer affordable, reliable, low-carbon power solutions by integrating solar alongside our existing Alternative Energy and gas business. We see Lightsource as a strategic partner with a similar vision and, with the benefits of BP’s global scale and relationships, we together plan to build the global market leader for solar,” said Dev Sanyal, BP’s chief executive for Alternative Energy.

Under the terms of the agreement, BP will pay Lightsource USD 50 million upon completion of the agreement, with the balance paid in installments over three years.

Completion of the transaction is anticipated in early 2018. Lightsource was advised by Rothschild, White and Case, Deloitte and Baker & McKenzie.

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