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Last fiscal, CleanMax Solar saw over a three times increase in its total solar capacity additions at 336 MW against 93MW in 2016-17. File Photo: Mint
Last fiscal, CleanMax Solar saw over a three times increase in its total solar capacity additions at 336 MW against 93MW in 2016-17. File Photo: Mint

Warburg Pincus exploring CleanMax stake sale

  • Other investors in firm are International Finance Corporation and UK Climate Investments LLP --a joint venture between Green Investment Group and the UK government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy

NEW DELHI: Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus Llc is exploring stake sale in CleanMax, said two people aware of the development.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, deal activity continues unabated in India’s green energy space. In what may rank among the largest solar rooftop and commercial and industrial (C&I) segment deals in India, the PE firm may be shortly appointing a banker to run the sale process.

The other investors in the firm are International Finance Corporation (IFC) and UK Climate Investments LLP (UKCI), a joint venture between Green Investment Group and the UK government’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy. UKCI is managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.

Spokespersons for Warburg Pincus, IFC and Macquarie declined comment.

Kuldeep Jain, founder and managing director of CleanMax did not respond to Mint’s phone calls, texts and queries emailed on Friday.

In July 2017, Warburg Pincus had announced that it will invest up to $100 million in CleanMax. CleanMax’s operating capacity has grown from 24MW in 2015-16 to more than 500MW in 2018-19, and the company expects to expand its customer base from 120 corporates to 300 corporates by 2022. It has expanded its portfolio in West Asia and is exploring further expansion in South-East Asian countries.

India is home to the world’s largest clean energy programme and aims to have 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, including 100GW from solar projects. Of this, 40 GW is to come from solar rooftop projects. India now has 34.6 GW of solar power and has attracted marquee global investors. Recently the single-largest foreign clean energy investment announcement in India was made by Japan’s ORIX Corp. for $980 million in Greenko for a 17% stake.

“We are witnessing a lot of deals in play in India’ clean energy market," said a person cited above requesting anonymity.

Distributed renewable energy generation is attracting strong investor interest as the market has few developers with large portfolios. Malaysia’s state-run oil and gas company, Petroliam Nasional Bhd or Petronas last year acquired Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s largest rooftop solar power producers. Mint recently reported about EverSource Capital’ plan to buy out the entire 167 MW solar rooftop portfolio of NYSE-listed Azure Power Global for around $112 million.

Other potential deals and transactions in the works as reported by Mint include; Hyderabad-based green energy producer Mytrah Energy India Pvt. Ltd restarting the majority stake sale process in the firm, Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd exploring an overseas listing and Acme Solar looking to sell 4.84 GW of solar projects.

Also, Petronas is looking to acquire around 10% stake in Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, in addition to investing in Tata Power’s renewable energy InvIT, Avaada Energy has mandated Bank of America (BofA) for selling stake, and O2 Power and Ayana Renewable Power have emerged as the front-runners to acquire Azure Power’ 305 MW solar assets. In addition; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Actis Llp and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. are looking to buy Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp’s stake in SB Energy Holding.

While India’ roof top solar sector hasn’t performed as per expectations, this is expected to change with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently calling for each state to have at least one ‘solar city’ whose electricity needs would be met entirely through rooftop solar power.

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