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Greenko Energy Holdings and AES Corp. of the US have emerged as front-runners to acquire Massachusetts, US-based NEC Energy Solutions in a deal potentially valued at around $300 million, said two people aware of the development.

Hyderabad-based Greenko’s interest in the company owned by Japan’s NEC Corp. comes against the backdrop of Greenko investing in Silicon Valley-based Keracel, a maker of solid-state batteries with 3D printing technology. NEC Energy holds the intellectual property rights for megawatt-scale lithium-ion batteries.

“The due diligence on NEC Energy Solutions is taking place. AES and Greenko are the ones left in the race to acquire it, with the deal having an enterprise value of around $300 million. It shall be announced shortly," said one of the two people cited above, seeking anonymity. “I’m afraid we are not able to comment on market speculation on potential agreements," an NEC Corp. spokesperson said in an emailed response. Queries emailed to the spokespersons of Greenko, AES Corp., and Keracel on Wednesday afternoon remained unanswered.

The Economic Timesreported on 17 August about Greenko looking to buy out NEC’s US battery unit.

Greenko, which is backed by sovereign funds GIC Holdings and ADIA, has been preparing to pivot towards battery storage. Mint reported on 13 September about its plan to invest around $1 billion in a new battery storage business that also includes a plan to produce lithium-ion batteries in India for power grid-scale applications and electric vehicles. The fresh capital for these new renewables’ vertical investment will be used by Greenko to buy and develop lithium-ion battery technology, and for manufacturing and developing applications. This follows the single-largest foreign clean energy investment in India so far of $980 million for a 17% stake in Greenko announced by Japan’s ORIX Corp on 11 September. “The Keracel investment was made to accelerate cost reduction and faster localization of battery production for the EV market," said the first person mentioned above.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Utpal Bhaskar

"Utpal Bhaskar leads Mint's policy and economy coverage. He is part of Mint’s launch team, which he joined as a staff writer in 2006. Widely cited by authors and think-tanks, he has reported extensively on the intersection of India’s policy, polity and corporate space.
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