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NESF raises £115m in over-subscribed issue

After unexpectedly high demand for its shares, the UK solar fund has bought a 5MW solar farm in a deal that brings its portfolio to 419MW.

NextEnergy Solar Fund has raised £115.3 million ($143.6 million; €168.2 million) through an over-subscribed share issue on the London Stock Exchange.

The firm placed 100 million new ordinary shares at 104.5p a unit last week as part of its programme to issue 350 million new shares over the next 12 months.

However, it received demand for 110.3 million shares and after discussions with its joint bookrunners – Cantor Fitzgerald, Fidante, Macquarie and Shore Capital – decided not to scale back any of the applications. The company’s short-term investment pipeline of about 130MW was a factor in this decision, they said.

“The ongoing demand for the company's shares has enabled us to raise more than £180 million over the last four months, increasing the company's share capital by approximately 63 percent,” said Kevin Lyon, chairman of the fund.

NESF’s first move after the share issue was to agree a deal for a 5MW solar farm worth £4.4 million. The Kentishes solar farm, under construction, is set to qualify for a 1.2 Renewable Obligation Certificate accreditation under the UK’s subsidy regime.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year and the plant should be operational by the end of Q1.