Bluefield buys portfolio, announces placing

The UK-listed Bluefield Solar Income Fund has agreed to acquire 12 solar assets and revealed plans to raise up to £155.6m.

Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF), a London-listed investment vehicle, has agreed to acquire a portfolio of 12 operating solar assets totalling more than 6.2 megawatt peak (MWp) for just over £8.9 million (€11.4 million; $14.5 million).

The largest asset in the portfolio is Durrant’s Farm on the Isle of Wight, which accounts for 80 percent of the portfolio’s total output capacity. The asset was built by REC Systems, the contracting arm of REC Group, a global solar manufacturer and installer.

The remaining 11 assets in the portfolio were built by British Gas New Heating, the solar contracting arm of Centrica, the UK utility.

Bluefield Partners, adviser to BSIF, is also acting as advisor to the vendor on the sale of the portfolio. Because this makes it a “related party” transaction, the deal is subject to approval at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM). The name of the vendor has not been disclosed.

In addition to the portfolio acquisition, BSIF has also announced plans for a placing programme to raise capital between 2 October 2014 and 1 October 2015. The placing, proceeds from which would be used to pay down debt drawn under the firm’s acquisition facility, is conditional upon resolutions to be passed at the EGM on 1 October.

The placing would involve the issuance of up to 150 million new ordinary shares and/or C shares. Given certain assumptions, the company may raise up to £155.625 million of gross proceeds through the placing programme.

BSIF raised £130 million of gross proceeds from its initial public offering in July 2013, with this capital fully committed by February this year. It then raised a further £13 million from a tap issue in February and signed a debt facility with RBS for up to £50 million in June.

The London Stock Exchange appears to be seeing another ‘mini-wave’ of renewable energy infrastructure funds coming to market to raise additional capital. Foresight Solar Fund and Greencoat UK Wind have both recently announced plans to raise an additional £100 million each.