Armstrong and Dragon Capital in $39m Thai solar exit

The two southeast Asia-focused fund managers are selling their stakes in 30MW of operating solar plants in Thailand to a local zinc producer.

Thailand-listed zinc producer Padaeng Industry Public Company (PDI) has acquired 100 percent ownership of Symbior Elements, a Thai-based solar developer, from funds managed by Singapore-based Armstrong Asset Management and Vietnam-based Dragon Capital for 1.3 billion baht ($39 million; €33 million). 

Armstrong’s $164 million Southeast Asia Clean Energy Fund and Dragon Capital’s $40 million Mekong Brahmaputra Clean Development Fund supported Symbior in the development and operation of six solar farms in central Thailand with a combined capacity of 30MW. In May 2013, Armstrong said it had a 60 percent stake in Symbior. 

The six solar farms secured 25-year power purchase agreements with the Provincial Electricity Authority to generate immediate revenues. The first project started operation in June 2013, followed by another four in December 2015 and the last one in April 2016. Symbior also has a development pipeline of more than 200MW across south and southeast Asia, and Mongolia. 

PDI’s energy team expects to fully finance the acquisition through available cash and believes the deal will contribute to the company’s growth strategy in green business. The company currently holds about 50MW of solar farms across Asia, including operational and under-construction sites in Japan. 

The Thai company restructured in 2014 to set up three divisions focused on renewable energy, value-added treatment for recycled materials, and industrial-focused waste management solutions, in a bid to shift towards a more sustainable business.