Exclusive: BIG to double capital amid portfolio expansion

The bioenergy investor is also believed to be in talks regarding investments in projects recently backed by the UK’s CfD regime.

UK-based Bioenergy Infrastructure Group is planning to double its £200 million ($267 million; €226 million) of capital as it gears up for a significant increase in its portfolio, Infrastructure Investor understands.

While there is thought to be no fixed timeline for the capital-raising process, one of the group’s shareholders – Helios Energy Investments – has already confirmed plans to increase its total commitments to 220 million Israeli shekels ($62.4 million; €52.9 million) from the initial 110 million shekels the Israel-based investor placed when BIG was founded in 2015.

Helios, which is investing alongside compatriot insurance company Phoenix and investment firm Meitav Dash, is a 20 percent shareholder in BIG. The bioenergy investor is 70 percent owned by Infracapital, which initially committed £160 million to it two years ago. Aurium Capital Markets and the Foresight Group each have a 5 percent equity share.

The capital-raising is likely to focus on equity, including discussions with possible new shareholders, but BIG is also believed to be considering a further injection of debt to the business as well.

The move comes amid plans to double its existing 115MW portfolio, which is already the largest collection of biomass and waste-to-energy projects in the UK. It received a major boost last month when it sealed the acquisition of 20 assets with a combined capacity of more than 70MW from the Green Investment Group.

Infrastructure Investor understands BIG is in discussions with several developers which received fixed-price backing for projects in the UK’s recent contracts-for-difference auction, through which bioenergy projects with a combined capacity of just under 150MW secured strike prices. While it is thought agreements for BIG investments could be struck within the next three to six months, the projects have a delivery year of 2021-22.

The growing maturity of the technologies, a desire for baseload power and the reduced development of solar and onshore wind sites in the UK has led to an increased interest in bioenergy investments. John Laing Environmental Assets Group’s maiden deal in the sector last month followed the launch of dedicated platforms launched by Ancala Partners and Iona Capital. Macquarie’s first investment as owner of the Green Investment Group also supported a 70MW energy-from-waste facility.

BIG declined to comment.