Mumbai/New Delhi: State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF) and UK Green Investment Bank Plc. (GIB) are in separate talks to acquire a stake in JPMorgan-backed Leap Green Energy Pvt. Ltd, four people familiar with the development said.
SGRF manages the oil and gas revenues of the energy-rich Oman and has a diversified portfolio in 25 countries. GIB is UK government owned and finances green projects.
Mint reported on 18 August 2015 that JPMorgan Asset Management Holdings Inc., the investment arm of JPMorgan Chase and Co., plans to sell half its stake in Leap Green Energy.
“SGRF is interested in acquiring a stake in Leap Green. JPMorgan has been looking for a buyer for some time now," said one of the four people cited above, requesting anonymity.
A second person, one of the four cited above, who also didn’t wish to be identified, confirmed SGRF’s interest in acquiring a stake in Leap Green.
SGRF’s interest comes in the backdrop of sovereign wealth funds from West Asia developing an interest in the Indian clean energy space following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch for investment during his UAE visit in August. Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund, Investment Corp. of Dubai through its subsidiary Dubal Holding Llc is scouting for investments in an Indian renewable energy platform, Mint reported on Thursday.
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JPMorgan holds about 75% stake in Leap Green Energy, acquired in tranches since 2010. Leap Green Energy, founded in 2006, is promoted by former Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan’s family. JPMorgan has a total investment of about $100 million in Leap Green Energy.
“GIB has also evinced interest for a minority stake in Leap Green Energy," said a third person, requesting anonymity.
Established in 2012, GIB invests through five funds including a £200 million fund dedicated for India and African nations.
“JPMorgan has no immediate plans to offload control stake. While JPMorgan will sell part stake, promoter will raise primary money through stake dilution," said a fourth person who also didn’t wish to be identified.
According to information available on SGRF’s website, Oman India Joint Investment Fund, an India-focused private equity fund, has raised $220 million for its second fund and is targeting a corpus of $300 million by the end of 2017.
Experts say that more foreign investors coming to the Indian green energy sector is good news for the industry.
“Indian power sector is seeing continued and enthusiastic response from international investors post the development in cleaning up the distribution sector," said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner, energy, PwC India.
In the meantime, the UK government is all set to sell GIB to Macquarie Group Ltd and the deal is expected to close soon.
The sale of the Edinburgh-based bank is on track to be completed before the end of March, in line with the deadline the government set when it announced the privatization this year, Bloomberg reported last month.
While a JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment, Rajeev Karthikeyan, managing director of Leap Green Energy didn’t respond to phone calls and a message left on his cellphone. A message left in his office also remained unanswered. Queries sent to SGRF, UK Green Investment Bank and Macquarie Group remained unanswered.
GIB could be valued at as much as £4.2 billion ($5.2 billion), including investments that the new owners will be expected to make over the next three years, Bloomberg reported citing Shaun Kingsbury, the bank’s chief executive.
Recent large deals in the Indian clean energy space include Tata Power Co. Ltd buying the entire 1.1 gigawatt renewable energy portfolio of Welspun Energy Ltd for $1.4 billion and Hyderabad-based Greenko Energies Pvt. Ltd, backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Holdings Pte. and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, acquiring SunEdison’s Indian assets for $392 million last year.