Impax sells ‘adversely impacted’ solar sites

A claim for compensation from the Spanish government remains ongoing in the European Court of Arbitration.

London-based Impax Asset Management has offloaded a 22MW solar portfolio in Spain which was hit by retroactive subsidy changes earlier this decade.

The firm sold the four PV plants to Sonnedix, which has now boosted its global operating and in-development portfolio to more than 1.2GW. Sonnedix was bought by JPMorgan Asset Management just under a year ago.

The projects were sold by Impax’s debut fund Impax New Energy Investors, a €125 million vehicle which closed in 2006. After initially investing in Spain in 2008, the sites were hit by the country’s regulatory reform – which resulted in retroactive changes to the projects’ subsidies.

In Impax’s interim results update in May, it described the projects as “adversely impacted” by the policy changes and confirmed it was in negotiations with banks to restructure the loans associated with the portfolio. Had the sales process been unsuccessful, the banks would have taken possession of the assets.

Impax added that it was pursuing an ongoing compensation case with the European Court of Arbitration against the Spanish government. The company said at the time that if this case had proved futile alongside the possible repossession by the banks, the investment would have been impaired in full.

Impax is one of many investors in the midst of legal battles against the government on this matter. One, EISER Infrastructure, has since emerged victorious after it was awarded €128 million in damages. That win, however, was awarded by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Impax continues to fundraise for the third instalment of the New Energy Investors fund, targeting €500 million. It reached a €149 million first close in December and last month added the South Yorkshire Pension Fund as its latest LP, according to filings with Companies House.