Foresight targets UK solar with £200m listing

The fund manager already has binding commitments in place to buy eight solar parks totalling 145.5MW.

The Foresight Group has set its sights on the UK solar market with a new listed fund seeking £200 million (€236 million; $312 million), the firm announced today. 

The Foresight Solar Fund seeks to attract both retail and institutional investors to subscribe to the 200 million ordinary shares, priced at 100 pence each, it plans to float on the London Stock Exchange. 

Proceeds from the listing will be used to acquire eight solar parks with a 145.5-megawatt capacity – including two of the UK’s largest solar parks – for which Foresight has already signed binding commitments, it said in a statement. 

The fund manager explained it intends to pay an annual dividend of 6 pence per share from January 1, 2014, expected to increase in line with inflation. Foresight also pointed out that the operational solar assets it will invest in are underpinned by the government’s Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme, which secures a fixed 20-year RPI-linked revenue stream. 

RPI stands for Retail Price Index, a common inflation indicator. 

Having established its solar team in 2007, Foresight is no stranger to solar investments. In 2008, the fund manager raised its first solar fund, the Foresight European Solar Fund, followed by the Foresight Solar VCT in November 2012. In all, the group manages some £450 million of solar assets, including the UK’s biggest solar index-linked bond to date. 

But Foresight also invests in Private Finance Initiative assets, which help make up the group’s £800 million of assets under management.