S.A.G. Solarstrom AG successfully closes sale of Italian 48 MWp project to BNP Clean Energy Partners
- Photovoltaic power plant with very high performance and availability
- The Group’s technical expertise will be developed
- Inflow of liquidity strengthens S.A.G. Solarstrom AG’s market position
Freiburg, April 2, 2012. S.A.G. Solarstrom AG (German security identification number: 702 100, ISIN: DE0007021008) has successfully concluded the sale of the North Italian 48 MWp photovoltaic project Serenissima. The project company was sold to a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners pursuant to a sales agreement signed on December 31, 2011 and on March 30, 2012 the three-digit million Euro purchase price was paid and the company shares transferred. The largest project in the company’s history to date impressively documents the performance of the S.A.G. Solarstrom Group with turnkey photovoltaic projects. With the construction of the high-performance and high-availability power plant, the S.A.G. Solarstrom Group has further expanded its technical expertise. After settlement of payables and repayment of the project bridging loan in the amount of approximately €80 million, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG received liquid funds of over €50 million on March 30, 2012. The inflow of liquidity strengthens the market position of the Group, which wants to continue to increase the MWp sales volume in 2012 by constructing own projects and through Partner Sales.
“We concluded this project successfully under difficult market conditions“, explains Dr. Karl Kuhlmann, CEO of S.A.G. Solarstrom AG. “Due to the introduction of the Conto Energia IV in spring of 2011, we were forced to reduce the construction time by several months, in order to be able to present attractive profitability for investors. With connection to grid at the end of August 2011, we were successful in this. However, a project of this size needs to be sold and funded. Here too, we have acted successfully in the middle of the largest European economic and financial crisis. We were thus able to prepare a highly appealing total package for investors“, continues Kuhlmann.
“Serenissima is an outstanding photovoltaic project with high levels of performance and profitability, which was carefully conceived as a complete solution for investors. This project is therefore a good fit for our investment strategy“, explains Scott Lawrence, Investment Director of BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners.
Successful sale in difficult market environment
The economic and financial crisis in Europe has considerably restricted the buyer target group for photovoltaic projects in the megawatt range. Only larger, international and institutional investors can be considered for large-scale projects of this kind. Nonetheless, the S.A.G. Solarstrom Group still succeeded in completing a sale within just a few months.
“My colleague on the Executive Board, Oliver Günther, and his sales team held meetings with a number of interested parties, declined offers and renegotiated them. Finally, we found the most suitable investor for Serenissima in BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners. An excellent sales division is distinguished by its ability to resist pressure from the market environment and delays that might occur“, says Kuhlmann.
Long-term project funding by bank syndicate
The Deutsche Bank Group provided a project bridging loan of approximately €80 million in June 2011. At the start of March 2012, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG then concluded long-term project financing for the solar park through its project company Enersol s.r.l., Rovigo with a bank syndicate consisting of the Deutsche Bank AG, the Bayerische Landesbank, the Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale and the KfW IPEX-Bank. The loan agreement of €118 million at current market conditions has a period of validity of 17 years. The S.A.G. Solarstrom AG made a loan of a further €9.8 million available to the project company, of which €6 million has a validity period of five years and the rest a validity period up to the end of 2012 maximum.
“My colleague on the Executive Board, Christoph Koch and his team have been instrumental in organizing this funding. In view of the financing environment, this is a major success. For companies in the solar industry, the ability to provide financing is the key to economic success, precisely at the present time“, says Kuhlmann.
“My colleague on the Executive Board, Karin Schopf and her team must have calculated dozens of investment scenarios to this end over the last few months, which have been continuously altered due to regulatory changes – in addition to closely monitored project and Group Controlling tasks. This too was a very demanding task, which was managed admirably. The project is altogether an example of outstanding cooperation between Sales, Technology and Finances. The entire S.A.G. team made this success possible. There is not a single employee who was not involved in the project at some point over the last few months and who made a contribution“, declares CEO Kuhlmann.
Technically challenging complete solution
The S.A.G. Solarstrom Group installed the photovoltaic system in Canaro near Rovigo in the region of Venice and connected it to grid in August 2011. Over a surface area of around 120 hectares, approximately 210,000 polycrystalline modules, 44 megawatt converter stations and more than 2,700 tons of steel were constructed. The system produces around 65,000 MWh per year and can thus supply 14,700 four-person households. At the same time, the solar park saves 44,000 t of CO2 annually. To feed the electricity directly into the high-voltage network, the S.A.G. Solarstrom Group constructed a separate, upgradable transformer substation, which is capable of load management and one of the most modern in Italy. The transformer substation was sold as planned in 2011 to the Italian network operator Terna S.P.A..
The system is equipped with a sophisticated monitoring and security system. meteocontrol GmbH monitors the performance of the solar park online around the clock. 60 infrared cameras and 11 additional monitoring cameras monitor the 6 km long safety fence and, like the surveillance performed by trained security staff, are part of the round the clock security concept.
Strengthening the market position
After the settlement of payables and repayment of the project bridging loan of around €80 million granted by the Deutsche Bank Group, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG will today receive liquid funds of over €50 million. S.A.G. Solarstrom AG will thus once again be able to eliminate the temporary balance sheet effects caused by the large-scale project at December 31, 2011 in the balance sheet at March 31, 2012. The balance sheet total will be almost halved from December 31, 2011 to March 31, 2012 and the equity ratio will once again rise to over 30%. “With these secure cash funds, we will be able to successfully manage a foreseeably difficult year in 2012. Our four pillar business model paid off. We have achieved a strong position in the market and are convinced that we will be able to successfully cope in this, for the solar industry difficult transition phase, from a market supported by subsidies to a competitive market“, says Kuhlmann in conclusion.
About S.A.G. Solarstrom AG
S.A.G. Solarstrom AG (German security identification number: 702 100, ISIN: DE0007021008) of Freiburg i.Br., Germany, is a manufacturer-independent provider of high-quality photovoltaic plants configured to customers’ individual needs. The Group constructs efficient plants of all sizes both in Germany and abroad. S.A.G. Solarstrom AG also produces solar energy at its own plants.
S.A.G. Solarstrom AG’s service portfolio covers the entire life cycle of photovoltaic plants, including forecast and energy services, yield reports, and remote service and maintenance, as well as insurance and financing. The Group thus offers a comprehensive value chain in photovoltaics, from yield reports, planning, construction, operations, and monitoring to optimization, repowering, and deconstruction.
Founded in 1998, S.A.G. Solarstrom AG is considered a pioneer in the solar industry. Around 240 specialists work at the four locations in Germany and the foreign subsidiaries.
S.A.G. Solarstrom AG is listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as well as according to the rules and standards M:access of the Munich Stock Exchange.
Further information: www.solarstromag.com
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