Key Financings

Major debt and equity deals

In 2021, India has seen considerable financial activity in the green energy sector, both on the equity as well as debt fronts. While there was growth in debt financings, the financial activity was largely concentrated in the equity segme­nt. The sector also saw an influx of foreign investment during the year. However, in a major development, SB Energy exited the Indian market, selling its entire stake to Adani Gr­e­en Energy Limited (AGEL). The green bond market also saw an upward movement with companies such as Re­New Power, ACME, Azure and Adani is­s­u­ing green bonds. Infrastructure investme­nt trusts (InvITs) was another em­erging area in green finance, although it is still at a nas­cent stage.

Renewable Watch highlights the major debt and equity deals in the industry over the past 12 months…

Equity deals

The equity financing front has witnessed more developments compared to debt fin­ancing between December 2020 and Nov­em­ber 2021. Apart from key renewable en­ergy developers, industry giants Adani and Reliance accelerated their financial activities in the renewable energy space. Given their access to finance, the companies co­uld grow their renewable portfolio significantly through the acquisition route.

We tracked 21 equity deals during the year, of which the biggest was AGEL’s ac­q­uisition of SB Energy for $3.5 billion.

  • In December 2020, Orient Cement, a su­b­­sidiary of the CK Birla Group, an­no­unced that it would acquire a 26 per cent stake in AMPSolar Systems. As per the agreement, Orient entered into a share purchase, subscription and sha­re­holders agreement with AMPSolar Te­ch­nology Private Limited and AMP­Solar Systems Private Limited.
  • In December 2020, Ayana Renewable Po­wer Private Limited raised $390 million in equity funding from its key backers. The biggest contributor was the Na­­­­­tional Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), which invested $284 million. The investment comes from NIIF’s ma­ster fund, and it will now be a majority stakeholder in Ayana. The other in­ve­s­­tors included the CDC Group and Ever­Source Capital, which invested $70 million and $36 million respectively.
  • In January 2021, Bharat Forge, a Pune-based multinational infrastructure company, made an equity investment of Rs 28.7 million in Avaada Renewable’s spe­­cial purpose vehicle (SPV) Avaada SataraMH.
  • In February 2021, Solavio Labs, an In­di­an start-up that develops robotic techno­logies to clean solar panels, announ­c­ed that it raised Rs 4 million in funding from a Canadian innovation fund.
  • In March 2021, the Orix Corporation re­ported the completion of acquisition of a 21.8 per cent stake in Greenko Energy Holdings for about $961 million. Orix will add 873 MW of its wind energy portfolio in India into Greenko’s portfolio in exchange for the shares.
  • In April 2021, Freyr Energy announced an equity investment of Rs 180 million from Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures, Sch­neider Electric Energy Access Asia and Capital 4 Development Partners.
  • In May 2021, AGEL signed a share purchase agreement to acquire 100 per cent stake in SB Energy India from the SoftBank Group and the Bharti Group. The transaction marks the largest ac­q­ui­sition in the renewable energy sector in India, at an enterprise valuation of ab­out $3.5 billion. SB Energy India had a total renewable energy portfolio of 4,954 MW spread across four states in India.
  • In June 2021, Fortum decided to divest 500 MW of solar projects in India and sig­ned an agreement with global infrastructure investment firm Actis for the same. As part of the agreement, Actis will receive ownership of the 250 MW Pa­­vagada II solar plant in Karnataka and 250 MW of solar power plants in Ra­­jasthan. The total consideration from the divestment is expected to be app­roximately Euro 280 million on a debt and cash-free basis.
  • In July 2021, Fourth Partner Energy rais­ed $125 million in equity funding from Norfund, the Norwegian Invest­me­nt Fu­nd, and exis­ting shareholder, The RISE Fund (TPG). Norfund invested $100 million while TPG invested $25 million.
  • In July 2021, IndiGrid announced the ac­quisition of 100 per cent stake in two solar assets with a cumulative capacity of 100 MW from Madrid-based developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures at an enterprise value of Rs 6.6 billion.
  • In July 2021, Fourth Partner Energy ac­quir­ed a solar portfolio of 8.9 MW, consisting of distributed solar projects, from Statkraft India.
  • In August 2021, Copenhagen Infra­str­uc­ture Partners (CIP), a renewable energy-focused fund manager, committed a $100 million investment with Amp Ener­gy India Private Limited, to enhance its renewable energy portfolio in India.
  • In August 2021, Augment Infrastruc­tu­re, a US-based investment firm, ann­o­unc­ed an equity investment of $222.23 million to acquire a majority stake in Clean­Max.
  • In August 2021, Torrent Power Limited an­­nounced the acquisition of 100 per cent of the share capital and all securities of LREHL Renewables India SPV 1 Pri­­vate Limited from Lightsource India Li­mi­ted and Lightsource Renew­able Energy (India) Limited.
  • In September 2021, Torrent Power Li­mi­­­t­ed entered into a share purchase ag­re­ement with CESC Limited, Haldia En­er­gy Limited and other nominal sha­reholders to acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of Surya Vidyut Limi­ted, a wholly ow­ned subsidiary of CESC Limited.
  • In October 2021, Reliance New Energy So­lar Limited (RNESL) announced the acquisition of 100 per cent stake of REC Solar Holdings from China National Bl­ue­star. The enterprise value for the ac­q­uisition was $771 million.
  • In the same month, RNESL agreed to pur­chase a 40 per cent share in Sterling & Wilson Solar from Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited (SPCPL) through a combination of primary in­ve­s­t­­ment, secondary purchase and an open offer for around Rs 28 billion.
  • Jubilant Ingrevia plans to acquire a 26.6 per cent stake in AMP Energy Green Fif­teen for Rs 511 million for setting up a so­lar power plant with capacity of 15.5 MW under the captive scheme.

Debt deals

Even though there has been a decline in debt financing over the past few years, a significant number of deals took place in the past 12 months.

  • In January 2021, the CDC Group anno­unced a $30 million credit facility to Tata Cleantech Capital Limited (TCCL). The deal marks the first green loan facility offered by the CDC Group. The investment will allow TCCL to provide loans to businesses across the country with a focus on e-mobility solutions, water and energy efficiency.
  • In March 2021, AGEL raised a $1.35 billion debt package for its renewable as­set portfolio, which is currently under co­n­struction. Further, the company has signed definitive agreements with international lenders. The funding will be utilis­ed to finance 1.69 GW of solar-wind hy­brid projects currently being develo­ped in Rajasthan. As per the agreeme­nt, 12 international banks will participate in the facility.
  • In March 2021, the Japan International Co­­operation Agency (JICA) signed a loan ag­reement with TCCL, an Indian non-banking financial company. The fin­ancing for a maximum amount of JPY 10 billion will help support TCCL to offer loans to bu­si­nesses across India that fo­cus on renewable energy generation.
  • In April 2021, Fourth Partner Energy re­ce­i­ved a funding of Rs 2.5 billion from the CDC Group in the form of non-convertible debentures. This is CDC’s first in­vestment in the commercial and in­dus­trial solar segment in India.
  • In May 2021, SHV Energy, a Dutch mul­tinational distributor of LPG, acquired a majority stake in SunSource Energy. Wi­th this investment, SunSource plans to increase its solar portfolio to over 550 MWp by 2023.
  • In July 2021, Azure Power signed a five-year syndicated financing deal of $163 mi­llion with the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) for its 300 MW solar project, which is currently being developed in Rajasthan. For the transaction, MUFG acted as a lead manager, a hed­g­ing bank, a facility agent and a bank is­suing line of credit.
  • In July 2021, the Asian Infrastructure In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB) approved a $50 mi­llion loan facility to Italy-based Enel Green Po­wer to develop a 300 MW so­lar proje­ct in Rajasthan.
  • In July 2021, MYSUN raised Rs 150 mill­i­on from TCCL in debt funding. The loan will be used to fund the existing projects of MYSUN+, while the credit line will be pumped into building the projects in the pipeline.
  •  In September 2021, NTPC Renewable En­ergy Limited (NTPC REL), a fully ow­n­ed subsidiary of state-owned power generator NTPC, signed its first green term loan agreement for Rs 5 billion. As per the company statement, the loan ag­reement was signed at a competitive rate with a tenor of 15 years with the Bank of India.
  • In October 2021, Vector Green Energy, a Mumbai-based independent power pro­ducer focused on solar and wind en­ergy, received a loan of Rs 11 billion fr­om the Indian Renewable Energy De­ve­lopment Agency (IREDA).
  • In October 2021, the Green Growth Eq­uity Fu­nd, India’s climate change fund, re­cei­ved a $70 million investment from the CDC Group. Eversource Capital, a joint venture between private equity firm Everstone Group and British Petrole­um’s renewable energy platform Light­Source bp, manages the fund.

Green bonds and InvITs

The current year has seen increased ac­tivity in India’s green bond market. In 2021, Indian renewable energy developers raised more capital in the international bond market than in any preceding year. While in the past green bonds have been issued by big developers such as Green­ko, RenNew Power, Azure Power and AGEL, this year witnessed first time green bond issuances from players like Hero Future Energies (HFE), JSW Hydro and ACME Solar.

In March 2021, HFE, the renewable energy arm of the Hero Group, received or­ders worth $3 billion for its first green bond issuance in the overseas markets. In May 2021, JSW Hy­dro Energy raised $707 million through green bonds. The bonds were issued by JSW to repay the existing debt on its two operational hydro projects. In July 2021, ACME Solar rais­ed $334 million in debt investment throu­gh the issuance of offshore green bonds. In the same month, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited raised $300 million through green bonds as part of its $2 billion global medium-term note programme. The bonds also generated massive global interest and were oversubscribed by 9.2 times. La­ter in the year, Adani Green Energy Li­mited issued its first ListCo senior green bond, raising $750 million. The bonds will have a three-year tenor at a rate of 4.375 per cent, with the funds being used to finance renewable energy currently under development by AGEL.

In August 2021, Azure Power also anno­unced a green bond issuance of $414 million. IREDA, which is a key entity in the Indian renewable energy finance space, has announced its plans to launch an initial public offering of new equity shares and issue green bonds in both domestic and international markets to mobilise capital for lending.

In addition to green bonds, other sources of finance for renewable energy have emerged. Notable among them are InvITs, wherein investors are called upon to invest in a new asset class that would provide them a yield over a long-term pe­ri­od, typically over the life cycle of the project. These have gained traction in the renewable energy market and can help address some of the concerns related to long-term finance. In November 2021, Virescent Renewable En­ergy Trust, back­ed by KKR-sponsored Virescent Infra­str­uc­ture, raised Rs 10 billion through non-convertible debentures in its debut issu­ance, which was split into three tranches of three, five and seven years. This is the first time a renewable energy InvIT has issued securities in India.

Outlook

The inflow of finance into the renewable sector has been on the rise, especially in light of the targets announced – the shorter-term target of 175 GW for 2022 and the longer-term target of 500 GW by 2030. There has also been an increase in forei­gn funding, which can be expected to grow further following the dialogue at COP26, where India reinstated its focus on developing renewable energy. Rece­n­tly, domestic and global giants have been acquiring large portfolios of renewable en­ergy assets, and even merging their operations with renewable energy companies to tap into the Indian market.

The investments in renewable energy will most likely be led by big players, which have plans to establish themselves in this space. These include large groups such as Adani and Reliance, which have ambitious plans for renewable expansion. Reliance has announced plans to invest Rs 750 billion in green energy initiatives over the next three years. Of the total in­vestment plan­ned, Rs 600 billion will be invested to create a fully integrated, end-to-end renewable energy ecosystem. Mean­while, the Adani Group plans to invest over $20 billion in renewable energy generation and $50 billion and $70 billion in overall organic and inorganic in­vestment respectively across the green energy chain.

Going forward, more financial flows can be expected, especially on the equity front. In­dia’s renewable energy M&A landscape will continue to expand, given the fast-gro­w­ing renewable energy market and the inc­reasing energy demand. How­ever, due to extensive due diligence, third-party consent and complexity in M&A deals, equity and debt financing continue to dominate as the preferred sources of finance for re­newable energy companies in India. Fur­th­er, owing to the success of the initial few gr­een bond issuances, the popularity of raising funds through international green bonds is expected to expand.

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