Foresight buys UK solar farm

The London-listed fund, now 39% invested, expects to be fully deployed by the end of the quarter.

Foresight Solar Income Fund (FSFL) has acquired the Hunters Race solar farm in West Sussex, UK.

Located on a low-grade, 12.4-hectares agricultural field, the plant has a capacity of 10.7 megawatts (MW). While no value was disclosed for the transaction, it is said to be worth around £14.5 million (€17.4 million; $23.6 million).

In October 2013, Foresight listed FSFL on the London Stock Exchange, with an investor base said to comprise more than 65 institutions. The vehicle raised £150 million, against an original target of £200 million.

At IPO, the proceeds were earmarked for a “committed portfolio” of six large-scale UK solar assets and an “exclusive portfolio” comprising two projects, including the one announced today.

Two further plants from the “committed portfolio” – the Castle Eaton and High Penn solar farms – are expected to be connected to the grid shortly. These will bring the total invested by FSFL in operational assets to more than 60MW, or more than 50 percent of its assets.

Foresight said it remains on target to have all IPO proceeds invested in grid-connected, operational assets by the end of Q1 2014. It intends to deliver a target dividend of 6p per ordinary share for its first financial year, rising annually with RPI thereafter.

The news comes just days after Foresight significantly expanded its infrastructure team, to match what it describes as a “rapid growth in asset acquisitions”. The six fresh hires took its investment staff to 20 professionals.

The fund currently trades at 96.25p, below its 100p issue price. Broker Numis Securities expects the share price to increase once investors receive further evidence that the fund remains on track to meet its investment schedule.

Foresight’s assets under management grew by around 70 percent to over £1 billion last year. The firm today manages £680 million of infrastructure assets, predominantly in solar.