India: Warburg Pincus exploring stake sale in solar energy firm CleanMax

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’ rooftop 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.

This article was first published in livemint.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.