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Bluefield Solar progresses deal with GLIL Infrastructure

handshake in a boardroom

Bluefield Solar has progressed the deal with GLIL Infrastructure that was announced late last year. It has invested £20m in the joint venture partnership that is acquiring the Lightsource bp portfolio of solar assets.

The 58 operating site Lightsource bp portfolio is comprised of:

  • 184MW backed by Feed in Tariff (FiT) subsidies,
  • 15MW by Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), and
  • two subsidy-free projects totalling 48MW.

Through the period 2023 to 2035 the proportion of fixed and regulated revenues from the portfolio is projected to be approximately 80%. The acquisition raises the level of regulated revenues in the Bluefield Solar portfolio, whilst also increasing the proportion of FiT income.

Bluefield Solar is investing £20m, or 9% of the equity, with GLIL investing the balance.

The trust will fund the acquisition from its last accounting year’s earnings. In addition, Bluefield Solar has used £10m of earnings to pay down its revolving credit facility (RCF). Total retained earnings prior to this announcement were about £60m. Now, the RCF balance will stand at £167m, with other long term amortising debt being £430m. Combined, this gives total outstanding debt of £597m, with a leverage level of circa 41% of gross asset value (broadly unchanged from 30 June 2023).

Phase two of the strategic partnership – where GLIL has provisionally agreed to acquire a 50% stake in a portfolio of more than 100MW of operational UK solar assets currently owned by the company – is making progress. The provisional acquisition price is in line with the current valuation. Financial close is targeted in the first half of 2024. The proceeds will provide Bluefield Solar with additional liquidity, which would provide the opportunity to continue to pay down the drawn RCF.

Then there is phase three – where GLIL helps the company fund its pipeline. The identified development assets are expected to be grid connected over the next two to three years.

[QD comment: We continue to be enthused by this deal, which illustrates perfectly the benefits of using closed-end structures to tap into long-term pension fund assets. We hope to see much more invested by UK pension funds into listed renewable energy, infrastructure and private equity funds. We would also urge managers, regulators and politicians to explore ways in which new pooled workplace pension funds can offer exposure into these assets through listed funds. As Bluefield’s 10-year track record, and that of abrdn Private Equity Opportunities (see next story) show, these can make very attractive long-term investments and it is wrong that savers are missing out on the opportunity.]

BSIF : Bluefield Solar progresses deal with GLIL Infrastructure

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