Austerity makes for strange bedfellows, and private equity groups are always looking for bargains. Those truisms intersected on Tuesday as KKR & Co., the private equity group run by investor Henry Kravis, said it paid more than half a billion dollars for one-third of a Spanish wind farm company forced into hard times by Spanish government austerity.
“I am really optimistic about the opportunity to partner with such a prominent renewable energy company and to help further develop what is already one of the largest operating renewable portfolios in the world,” Kravis, the private equity firm’s co-founder, said in a statement.
In one of the largest renewable energy transactions to date, Spanish construction giant Acciona SA agreed to sell one-third of its international wind and solar-energy assets for 417 million euros, or about $567 million, to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (NYSE:KKR). The deal gives Acciona Energia International, the global renewable generation arm of Acciona Energia, an enterprise value of roughly 2.6 billion euros, about half of which is debt.
The company had been trying to sell part of its renewable assets for more than a year but until now had run into regulatory hurdles. During that time the firm struggled to stem losses triggered when Spain sharply cut alternative energy subsidies during its recent debt crisis.
Acciona reported a record $2.7 billion loss last year and booked hefty charges in its 2013 accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Acciona Energia’s renewable assets outside of Spain include 2.3 gigawatts of installed generation capacity, mainly from wind-energy farms spread across 14 countries, including the United States, Mexico and Australia, according to the company.
The strategic alliance with KKR & Co. “will broaden our international reach, and it will transform the scale of what we can achieve,” Jose Manuel Entrecanales, Acciona’s chairman and chief executive said in a statement.
The Acciona transaction follows another major renewable energy investment for KKR & Co. In a $400 million deal, KKR and Google Inc. will invest nearly $80 million in Recurrent Energy to build six solar energy facilities in California and Arizona that aim to generate enough power for 17,000 homes.
KKR’s other renewable investments also include a partnership with Sorgenia, one of the largest wind farm operators in France by installed capacity, and a partnership with T-Solar, the largest owner/operator of solar photovoltaic generation assets in Europe, according to the company.