Private Equity Funds in Renewable Energy

Introduction

There are two main purposes of this article. The first purpose is to discuss a private equity company involved in making investments in renewable energy sector. And the second aim of this article is to discuss the investment of other private equity houses on renewable energy sector. We will discuss this issue in accordance with Daniel Schafer’s article ‘Winds of Change’. The company selected to fulfill the purpose of this article is HgCapital. HgCapital is a private equity firm who is engaged in buying out of small, medium and large size companies all over Europe.

The firm makes investment in all sorts of industries but it has a specialized fund for renewable energy. It invests in five sectors: Industrials, Health care, TMT, Services and Renewable energy. The company was established in 1985 by the name of Mercury Private Equity. It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. HgCapital has total assets of around $5.2 Billion. It has 80 Employees in its offices in Germany and United Kingdom.

Discussion

HgCapital was the first UK Private Equity fund that involved in investing in renewable energy sector. Today HgCapital is considered to be the largest renewable fund player in Europe in terms of the amount of capital it raised. It established its first renewable energy investment team in 2004 and made its first investment in 2006 after a thorough research of the sector. The Team initially invested in utility renewable project in Western Europe through technologies such as solar, hydro, and onshore wind. For that purpose the company uses ‘fund investment approach for infrastructures’. The company focuses on small hydro and wind projects which are independent of government support. In Scandinavia, the company has become the major owner and player of onshore wind farms.

The renewable energy market is the rapid and fastest growing segment in Europe. It is a potential investment opportunity for the investors. It requires considerable capital investment. Economies of scale and advancement in technology have increased the cost competitiveness of the sector. As a response to these market drivers the company has increased its focus on the use of efficient and effective technologies and the best possible resource sites. This results in lower cost to consumers. In order to establish strategic value and to lower the intrinsic cost the company has decided to invest in industrial scale.

The article by Daniel Schafer’s ‘Winds of Change’ emphasized on the growing interest of private equity funds investment in renewable energy sector. According to the author, Daniel, KKR and Blackstone like HgCapital have discovered a new investment opportunity. As mentioned earlier renewable energy is the fastest growing sector in Europe. Hence it provides attractive and potential investment opportunities for many of the private equity funds. There were overall 70 renewable energy investments by private equity funds in between 2004 and 2006. However the number increased to 170 Investment during 2008.

There has been a lot of activity during this year. KKR, which is a United States based private equity fund, made its first investment in the renewable sector. The very same day Axa Private Equity becomes the fourth largest wind farm operator in France. After a month, another UK based private equity firm by the name of Bridgepoint, invested a sum in wind farms of Spain. In August the same year, Blackstone, rival of KKR invested €2.5 billion for constructing Germany two offshore wind farms.

According to the author one major reason why the renewable sector is a hot spot for investment is because it is immune and least affected by economic cycles. Wind and solar energy does not bear the same demand risk as gas, coal and nuclear power. Even banks are willing to lend for making investments in renewable projects. Renewable energy has become the major power generation. Solar energy is in number second but still behind in terms of cost. In future the author believes that further investment will made for the supply chain of that sector.

Conclusion

The article discusses a private equity company involved in making investments in renewable energy sector. The company selected for this purpose is HgCapital. The firm makes investment in all sorts of industries but it has a specialized fund for renewable energy. It established its first renewable investment team in 2004 and made its first investment in 2006 after a thorough research of the sector.

The article also discusses Daniel Schafer’s article ‘Winds of Change’. The article is focused on the investment of private equity houses on renewable energy sector. The private equity houses discussed in this article are KKR, Black stone, Axa, and Bridgestone. Renewable energy is the fastest growing sector in Europe. Hence it provides attractive and potential investment opportunities for many of the private equity funds. According to author, one major reason why renewable energy sector is a hot spot for investment is because it is immune and least affected by economic cycles. Being the fastest growing sector in Europe it provides an attractive and potential investment opportunity to private equity fund managers and companies.

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