The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Singapore-based renewable energy-dedicated private equity fund Armstrong S.E. Clean Energy Fund, are making an investment into Vietnam’s Gia Lai Electricity Joint Stock Company (GEC).
Financial terms were not disclosed. However, IFC said it will take 16 per cent in the Vietnamese hydropower firm, while Armstrong will hold 20 per cent stake following the investment.
The deal marks the first investment for both players in Vietnam’s power sector. IFC has invested over $1 billion across 75 hydel power projects in 25 countries in the last 10 years, while Armstrong has backed over 50 renewable energy projects globally.
DEALSTREETASIA earlier reported that the IFC was considering the financing for GEC, in partnership with a Singaporean private equity firm. The name of the fund was not disclosed at the proposal stage.
As shareholders, the duo will help GEC expand its hydropower portfolio and invest in other renewable energy segments such as wind and solar power. “GEC is one of the largest private sector hydropower players in Vietnam with 84.4 MW of installed capacity across 15 run-of-the-river small-scale hydro power plants,” the IFC said in a statement.
“Their investment is a vote of confidence in Vietnam’s hydropower sector potential and should help attract more international investors,” Le An Khang, CEO of the Vietnamese company, commented on the partnership.
“We believe IFC’s investment is an important step to encourage other investors to tap into the rich potential of Vietnam’s green energy sector, where participation by foreign investors is still modest,” added Hyun-Chan Cho, IFC’s head of infrastructure and natural resources for Asia Pacific.
Vietnam’s electricity consumption has outpaced the country’s economic growth rate by two-fold over the past few years. As Vietnam’s year-on-year GDP hit a five-year high of nearly 6.7 per cent in 20t15, the country estimated power demand would increase 10 per cent every year.
Energy sector players are looking at increasing installed power capacity by 14 per cent per annum between 2015 and 2030, diversify its energy mix and reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels to meet the growing demand.
“We believe GEC is well positioned to capture the strong growth potential in Vietnam’s renewable energy sector,” said Andrew Affleck, managing partner of Armstrong. “Armstrong’s aim is to share the knowledge and experience we have gained from developing and constructing multiple renewable projects in neighboring South East Asian markets to help GEC to continue to build a leading position in Vietnam.”