New Delhi: Malaysia’s state-run oil and gas company, Petroliam Nasional Bhd or Petronas on Monday said it has acquired Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s largest rooftop solar power producers.
The ₹2,700 crore deal, which is expected to be completed later this month, marks Petronas’ foray into the global clean energy space. Oil giants are looking to diversify and invest in India’s emerging green economy as the conventional hydrocarbon space undergoes technological disruptions.
Mint had reported about the impending deal on 16 January.
While New York-based I Squared Capital holds over a 90% stake in Amplus, the balance is held by the management team led by Amplus founder and chief executive officer Sanjeev Aggarwal.
“Petronas today announced that it has entered into an agreement with I Squared Capital, a leading global infrastructure investor, to acquire 100% interest in Amplus Energy Solutions Pte Ltd, also known as M+, a leading Singapore-based company with a portfolio of distributed, renewable energy assets in Asia," Petronas said in a statement.
Norway’s Statoil ASA, France’s Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc had also shown interest in investing in Amplus that has set up 350 megawatts (MW) of capacity across India. Russia’s Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil firm, has also been exploring opportunities in India’s solar energy sector.
With the biggest expense being the cost of capital in the green energy business, the financial heft of global oil majors such as Petronas will help India’s clean energy sector.
Sanjeev Aggarwal will continue to head the firm that has 500MW under operation and development at 200 locations across India, the Middle East and South East Asia.
Aggarwal declined to comment on the deal.
Mint had reported on 4 December about I Squared Capital creating a new renewable assets platform that will acquire and develop utility-scale projects.
“This acquisition reflects Petronas’ strategic intent to grow in the renewable energy space as part of our strategy to step out beyond oil and gas into the new energy business. This also represents our first international solar venture and we look forward in providing energy solutions to our customers in these high growth energy markets," Petronas president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said in the statement.
Distributed renewable energy generation is attracting strong investor interest as the market has few developers with large portfolios. Warburg Pincus Llc, the New York-based private equity firm, in 2017 announced a $100 million investment in rooftop solar developer CleanMax Solar. Of India’s plan to add 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by 2022, it has targeted 40GW from rooftop projects. “Under I Squared Capital, M+ grew by over 400% annually to become a world-class, end-to-end company serving the corporates in Asia to reduce their greenhouse gases and combat climate change," Gautam Bhandari, founding partner at I Squared Capital, said in the statement.
Founded in 2010, Amplus counts India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd, Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd, Walmart India Pvt. Ltd, Hilton Hotels Corp. and Gurugram-based Vatika Group among its clients, which are trying to cut their energy costs by harnessing the sun.
The Indian green energy deal space is active with some of the ongoing deals including Norwegian state-owned power company Statkraft AS and global private equity (PE) fund Actis Llp separately looking to acquire the Indian hydroelectric assets of Singapore’s Equis Pte. Ltd. Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd is also in talks to acquire Fotowatio Renewable Ventures’s 135MW solar power project in India. PTC India Ltd’s wind power business and renewable energy business of debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) are also on the block.
Amplus has grown its portfolio through both greenfield projects and acquisitions. It acquired US solar power developer SunEdison’s rooftop solar power assets in India in June 2016.
Founded in 2012 by former Morgan Stanley executives, I Squared Capital is an infrastructure-focused private equity firm and has over $13 billion of assets under management.
It focuses on energy, utilities and transport in North America, Europe and high-growth economies and invested $150 million in Amplus in April 2015.