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Aviva Investors and Zouk Capital are pleased to announce the acquisition by Aviva Investors of a second portfolio of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems totalling 11.3MW and installed on over 3,700 properties across the UK from Zouk’s first infrastructure fund, Zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (ZSOL). Aviva Investors acquired the first portfolio of 8.6MW on over 3,200 properties across the UK in July 2013. This brings the total size of the two transactions to circa 20MW on 7,000 properties with a value of approximately £76m.
The ZSOL portfolio was developed and financed by Zouk over 2011-2014. The investment model enables homeowners and social housing residents to benefit from free use of the electricity generated by the solar PV systems. The systems were installed at no cost to the residents and can reduce household power bills substantially, which helps to relieve many from fuel poverty.
Ian Berry, Fund Manager, Infrastructure & Renewable Energy at Aviva Investors said: “As we continue to expand our activities in the European infrastructure market, we see strong interest from clients in opportunities such as this, which combine Aviva Investors’ expertise and innovative approach with the underlying positive features of the assets themselves – reduced energy bills for homeowners and social housing tenants through renewable energy generation. We are delighted to have invested in such high quality infrastructure assets offering attractive yields.”
Colin Campbell, Partner, Zouk’s Infrastructure team said: “We are delighted to have completed the sale of the second ZSOL portfolio, one of the largest portfolios of free residential roofs in the UK, to Aviva Investors. These portfolios are an excellent example of why distributed solar PV is such an efficient method of power generation, has a strong carbon benefit and provides fuel poverty relief.”
Freetricity, one of the UK’s largest installers of free solar panels, were the solar installer and asset manager of the majority of solar panels involved in the transaction and also sold their interests in the portfolio to Aviva Investors.
Advisors on the deal were Clifford Chance (legal) OST Energy (technical) and AgFe (financial) for Aviva Investors and Eversheds (legal) for Zouk Capital.
Aviva Investors and Zouk Capital are pleased to announce the acquisition by Aviva Investors of an 8.6MW portfolio of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed on over 3,000 properties across the UK from Zouk’s first infrastructure fund, Zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (ZSOL).
The ZSOL portfolio was developed and financed by Zouk over 2011-2013. The investment model enables homeowners and social housing residents to benefit from free use of the electricity generated by the solar PV systems. The systems were installed at no cost to the residents and can reduce net household power consumption substantially, which helps to relieve many from fuel poverty. The electricity generated by the portfolio over its lifetime will result in avoided carbon emissions of around 90,000 tonnes.
The acquisition represents a further addition to the existing portfolio of investments in solar PV systems by the Aviva Investors REaLM Infrastructure Fund. The Fund focuses on a range of UK infrastructure projects, with particular focus on the energy and energy efficiency sectors. The Fund’s portfolio of residential PV systems now exceeds 50MW of installed capacity.
The PV systems are scheduled to deliver predictable, RPI-linked returns with each system eligible for OFGEM-regulated Feed-in Tariffs for every unit of electricity generated for 20/25 years. The homeowners, including a significant number of social housing tenants, will continue to make substantial savings on their electricity bills for the lifetime of the assets.
Ian Berry, Fund Manager – Infrastructure & Renewable Energy at Aviva Investors said:
“We continue to expand our activities in the UK infrastructure market and in UK renewables in particular and once again are delighted to have invested in such high quality infrastructure assets offering attractive yields. We believe that infrastructure opportunities such as this offer the potential to invest in assets which offer secure and long-dated income streams in order for our clients to meet their future liabilities.”
Colin Campbell, Partner, Zouk’s Clean Infrastructure team said:
“We have created one of the largest portfolios of free residential-scale solar in the UK for Zouk's first infrastructure fund, ZSOL. By selling this portfolio to Aviva, we continue to demonstrate the value of Zouk’s infrastructure strategy: creating de-risked, long-term infrastructure assets for institutional investors to generate capital gain. In line with Zouk’s investment philosophy, these returns carry real ESG value: distributed solar PV is an efficient method of power generation, has a strong carbon benefit and provides fuel poverty relief. We are delighted to have worked with Aviva on this transaction and hope to be able to work together again in the future.”
Zouk’s Clean Infrastructure investment funds finance the construction of new high-yielding assets, by acquiring, developing and funding infrastructure projects during the late-stage of development and investing across a broad range of renewable energy and environmental sectors, including distributed energy, energy efficiency, waste to energy and geothermal.
The Aviva Investors REaLM (Returns Enhancing and Liability Matching) strategy contains five funds investing in Infrastructure, Energy Centres, Ground Rents, Social Housing and Commercial Assets. The strategy aims to hedge against inflation risks and generate returns in excess of liabilities.
The objective of the REaLM Infrastructure Fund is to achieve investment returns substantially in excess of the rate of return generated by long-dated index-linked gilts by investing in infrastructure investments which offer secure, long-term and inflation-linked income streams.
Aviva Investors is the global asset management business of Aviva plc. The business delivers investment management solutions, services and client-driven performance to clients worldwide. Aviva Investors operates in 15 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the United Kingdom with assets under management of £245 billion at 30 June 2013.
Zouk Capital LLP, formerly zouk ventures ltd (“Zouk”), is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Erich Becker as a new Partner. Dr Becker will co-lead the infrastructure team with Colin Campbell. Zouk’s infrastructure strategy focuses exclusively on the renewable energy & environmental sectors and has a strong track record of financing late-stage development and greenfield assets.
Erich brings a wealth of experience in energy infrastructure investment from some of the world’s leading financial institutions. He joins Zouk from Macquarie Bank, where he was a Senior Managing Director responsible for creating and managing a merchant banking approach to commodity investments. Erich previously worked at Och-Ziff Capital Management and Goldman Sachs, focusing in both roles on principal investment in energy assets. He has an extensive track record of investment in renewable energy and environmental infrastructure, including assets in the geothermal, waste-to-energy, emission abatement and wind sectors.
Erich’s professional career has been built on his doctoral studies in process engineering, following which he had operational experience in the management of power generation assets. This valuable experience aligns with Zouk’s strategy of active investment management; providing its portfolio companies and infrastructure partners with a valuable combination of operational knowledge and financial expertise.
Samer Salty, CEO of Zouk Capital, commented:
“Erich is an energy infrastructure expert of the highest calibre. He offers Zouk deep sector expertise, covering principal investment, corporate finance, commodity trading and fund management. His considerable skills and networks will complement those of Colin Campbell, who has led Zouk’s infrastructure activities with great success since 2007. Erich joins at a key moment for the infrastructure team, as we commence fundraising for a second infrastructure fund to invest in European renewable energy and environmental infrastructure projects, an area which offers huge growth potential. Erich will add real value as we enter this exciting period of our development.”
Erich Becker added:
“Zouk has a market-leading international team with a strong record of financing quality assets in the renewable energy and environmental infrastructure sector. The firm’s expertise in both cleantech and renewable and environmental infrastructure investments allows Zouk to realise synergies and create value for our investors and the assets and companies we invest in. I’m especially pleased to be joining Zouk at such an exciting time for the infrastructure side of the business, and I look forward to working closely with Colin and the rest of the team on the fundraising and investment of the new fund over the coming months.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Dr. Erich Becker
Erich Becker will co-lead Zouk’s Infrastructure team with Colin Campbell. He draws on 15 years of experience in energy infrastructure investment at Macquarie, Och-Ziff and Goldman Sachs, having specialised in the design, engineering and optimisation of various energy infrastructure assets prior to working in the financial sector.
Before joining Zouk, Erich was Senior Managing Director at Macquarie Bank; he created and managed a merchant banking approach to commodity markets at this renowned infrastructure investment institution. Prior to Macquarie, he was an energy sector specialist at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs; at both he focused on principal investment in the energy sector. Erich has a PhD in Process Engineering from the Technical University of Vienna, focused on financing, design and optimisation of power plants. He also holds an MBA from the Vienna School of Economics and Business Administration.
About Zouk Capital LLP
Zouk Capital, formerly Zouk Ventures Ltd, is an independent London-based private equity fund manager with a focus on the European cleantech market. Zouk’s goal is to create sustainable long term returns by building strong companies and projects with tangible financial and environmental value. Zouk specifically invests in two areas of this growth market: clean technology companies and renewable energy & environmental infrastructure. Through increased market intelligence, this strategy optimises the potential for value creation in the sector. Currently Zouk manages three cleantech-focused funds: two expansion-stage private equity funds investing in clean technology companies; and a renewable infrastructure fund focused on solar project development. Cleantech Europe II, the second clean technology fund, closed at €230 million and is the largest of its type in Europe. Zouk’s investment teams consist of professionals with a diverse experience base, including private equity, engineering, corporate management, investment banking and consultancy.
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zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (“zSOL”) and NextEnergy Capital (“NEC”) have completed a 2.8 MW solar photovoltaic (“PV”) power plant in Recetto, Novara. The €14 million power plant, constructed by TerniEnergia, was inaugurated on 24 October in a ceremony involving the local authorities and the plant’s investors.
Recetto Energia, a special-purpose company managed by zSOL and NEC, has completed the construction and grid-connection of a 2.8 MW building-integrated solar PV power plant by the Sesia Water Sports Centre, near Recetto in the Province of Novara, Italy.
The PV panels are integrated into the shading structures of a 48,000 square metre car park with the capacity for 1,140 cars. The plant was constructed in four months; a record time for a project of this type and scale. Fully operational, the plant is expected to have an annual electricity production of 3,200 MWh, meeting the needs of 1,100 houses and offsetting 1,700 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The project was sponsored by zSOL, which is managed by zouk ventures ltd (“zouk”), as majority shareholder. NEC Group subsidiaries managed the development, construction, supervision and financing of the project. A project finance debt facility of €12 million was provided by Centrobanca, the investment bank arm of UBI Banking Group. The EPC contractor was Terni Energia, a listed Italian company which specialises in the design, construction and operation of solar photovoltaic systems, using Sunpower panels and PowerOne inverters.
Colin Campbell, Partner of zouk said, “The speed of construction and connection of Recetto is the pace which we aspire to in the execution of our solar projects. Italy is a great region to be investing in at the moment, offering a combination of knowledge, local support and expertise which enables investors like zSOL build out quality projects like Recetto Energia. Indeed, by the end of the year, we expect zSOL to have an operational portfolio of 17 MW of solar PV plants in the country and a larger still construction pipeline.”
Christian Rossi, the Principal at NEC, said, “The success of this project can be attributed to the collaboration between NEC, zSOL and the Recetto authorities. Together we have built a strong working relationship which will help the development of further renewable energy projects in the region. This partnership model is a distinctive approach to development and we look forward to expanding our offering to other local authorities and providing their regions with the associated economic benefits of renewable power.”
Enrico Bertone, Mayor of Recetto added, “The municipality of Recetto has reached an exciting milestone with the installation of this solar project. The scale and design of the plant are like nothing which has been before in the region; it really demonstrates our commitment to the local development of a low carbon economy built on clean energy. I am proud to see such effective execution of a project which will not only reduce our dependence on polluting sources of energy, but will also generate a strong revenue stream for the local community.”
zouk ventures is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sven Hansen as Venture Partner. As one of the world’s most long-standing cleantech investors, Dr. Hansen brings in his valuable experience in advisory, investment banking and private investment practices of the industry. Dr. Sven Hansen is one of the pioneers in cleantech investing with unique multidisciplinary experience in the field of sustainable finance and investment spanning over 20 years. Since his appointment as Global Head of Environmental Risk Management at UBS, Dr. Hansen has spent much of his career raising the profile of environmental issues and successfully investing in and supporting the cleantech industry. Over the last decade, he has been engaged in growing some of the world’s most successful solar companies across Europe, Asia and North America, such as Q-Cells, REC, Solarcentury, Solarfun and Trina.
Dr. Hansen has already worked with zouk on several occasions as co-investor through Good Energies’ investments in leading solar companies. As a Venture Partner at zouk, he will focus on investments and will work alongside both the cleantech and infrastructure teams.
Samer Salty, CEO of zouk ventures commented: “We are all very excited to welcome Sven to our team. He is a highly respected figure in the industry with a direct hand in building some of cleantech’s most successful businesses from their very early days. Zouk is today one of Europe’s leading cleantech asset management firms, and Sven’s expertise in the sector is invaluable to our ambitious growth plans.”
Sven Hansen commented: “I have come to know the zouk team well over the last few years and I am proud to be part of it. Their philosophy, investment principles and hands-on approach make zouk an exciting business. I am looking forward to the opportunity to grow the company and its investments.”
For further information:
Philip Tomlin - Investor Relations: +44 (0) 207 947 3421
About Dr Sven Hansen
Sven Hansen is one of the pioneers in the cleantech industry with experience in the field of sustainable finance and investment spanning over 20 years. Having created the role of Global Head of Environmental Risk Management at UBS, Dr. Hansen has spent much of his career raising the profile of environmental issues and successfully investing in and supporting the cleantech industry. From UBS, he moved into senior financial and operational management roles in energy finance in the US, Europe and Africa.
As partner at Black Emerald, founder of InErgies Capital and Chief Investment Officer of Good Energies Dr. Hansen consolidated his position as one of the world’s most experienced cleantech investors, with exposure to the advisory, investment banking and private investment practices of the industry. Over the last decade he has been engaged in growing some of the world’s largest solar companies across Europe, Asia and North America such as Concentrix, Norsun, Q-Cells, REC, Solarcentury, Solarfun, Trina. Dr. Hansen has been involved in investments in over 40 cleantech companies and in listing four companies (QCE, REC, SOLF, TSL).
Sven Hansen studied at the Universities of Basel and St. Gallen where he earned his Ph.D. in 1992 on Environmental Risk Management. His work has been published in several books and numerous articles in leading newspapers and business magazines.
zouk ventures ltd (“zouk”), manager of the €52m solar project investment vehicle zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (“zSOL”), and Next Energy Capital (“NEC”), a European merchant bank specialised in the renewable energy sector, today announce their joint investment in a 2MW development-stage photovoltaic (“PV”) solar project in Puglia, Italy. The project, NextPower 1, represents the first in a pipeline of projects which zSOL and NEC will develop in partnership.
The NextPower 1 solar power plants will be built and operated by Enerqos, one of the leading PV contractors in Italy. The project is situated on two sites, each of 1MW. One will utilise a dual-axis tracker technology developed by Enerqos. The second site will be built on a traditional ground mounted, fixed axis system. Both sites benefit from close proximity to local electricity grid connections. Over their lifetime, the two power plants will produce over 67 million kWh, representing a saving of approximately 36,000 tons of CO2. The solar plants are expected to become operational in late 2009, from when they will start to receive the premium feed-in-tariff for the electricity produced. It is intended that the plants will be managed by WiseEnergy, a solar asset management company controlled by NEC. NEC made their investment through NextPower, a platform designed to invest in solar parks. zouk has invested with an initial 49% stake with the right to raise its participation to 65%. The overall investment totals €14.5m.
Project financing with a line of credit for €12.5m is being provided by the Italian bank Centrobanca, an institution with which zouk and NEC have strong relations. “Centrobanca offered us financing with very competitive terms. In these credit-constrained markets this is testament to the quality of the project and the management teams behind it”, said Stefano Sommadossi, Co-CEO of NEC.
“Long-standing local relationships with financing institutions, state authorities and developers position NEC as a strong Italian partner for zSOL”, said Colin Campbell, managing partner of zSOL at zouk. “We see NEC as a valuable partner in developing our presence in Italy, a strategic market for us. NEC and zouk are now well positioned to build a significant pipeline of projects together over the next 2 years. The realisation of this pipeline will be an important step towards meeting the challenging targets we have set for development in Italy”.
Stefano Sommadossi said of the relationship, “NextEnergy Capital brings the development work it has made over the past years in the Italian solar sector, contributing outstanding projects, arranging debt financing and turn-key contracts for construction and maintenance, as for this first project. The zouk team complements ours very effectively. We are excited to be working in partnership with an equity investor of such standing to build out what we believe to be one of Italy’s leading solar PV pipelines”.
About zouk ventures
Founded in 1999, zouk ventures is a London based investment manager focusing on expansion stage capital in cleantech markets as well as renewable and environmental infrastructure opportunities. zouk currently manages two technology funds and invests in solar infrastructure projects through zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd. zouk has been a leading investor in the carbon market for ten years and is a founding member of the Cleantech Venture Network in Europe. For more information please visit www.zouk.com
About Next Energy Capital
Next Energy Capital is a London -based merchant bank focused on the renewable energy sector in Europe. In the field of private equity, NextEnergy Capital promotes, co-finances and manages funds whose objectives are to identify, acquire, realise and manage investment platforms in the renewable energy sector, in particular power plants in Europe, with the brand name NextPower. In the field of Financial Advisory, NextEnergy Capital undertakes mandates involving M&A and capital market transactions for clients wishing to expand their presence in the renewable energy market. For more information please visit www.nextenergycapital.com
For futher information please contact:
+44 (0)20 7947 3400
zouk today announces the launch of zouk Solar Opportunities Limited (“zSOL”), a closed-ended investment company. zSOL will be managed by zouk and will develop and own a portfolio of solar power projects in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
zSOL will provide investment equity in a diversified portfolio of solar projects in areas where optimal conditions, regulatory support and tariff structures create a suitable investment profile. zSOL will target projects in their development phase that utilize proven solar technologies with an initial focus on solar photovoltaic plants. zSOL has already identified a pipeline of suitable projects and is looking to build approximately 40MW within the next 12 months.
Colin Campbell, the zouk Partner dedicated to infrastructure, said, “zSOL’s focus on solar infrastructure projects represents a significant investment opportunity. This is an exciting time for solar with strong regulatory and financial support, rapid capacity growth and on-going technological advances.”
Samer Salty, CEO of zouk, commented, “zouk has developed solid expertise in the industry with investments in solar technology and distribution companies. zSOL will allow us to leverage our knowledge in the solar space and take advantage of solar infrastructure opportunities.”
John Mapplebeck, Non-Executive Chairman of zSOL, said, “I am pleased to say that zSOL was oversubscribed in raising an initial €52m. This will allow us to take advantage of a strong project pipeline and is particularly encouraging given that we intend raising follow-on funding with a full listing next year. I look forward to working with Colin and the rest of the zouk team to make zSOL a success.”
About zouk Solar Opportunities Limited:
zouk Solar Opportunities Limited (“zSOL”) is a €52m closed-ended investment company managed by zouk. The main role of zSOL is origination, development and ownership of solar infrastructure projects. zSOL will build approximately 40MW within the next 12 months and will target projects in their development phase in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
For further information please contact:
Philip Tomlin, Investor Relations
+44 (0) 207 947 3421