(Denham Capital, 21.Jul.2023) — Denham Capital, the global energy transition investment firm, has signed an agreement with Equinor for the sale of certain Rio Energy assets, the Rio Energy trade name, and the management team platform.
Rio Energy, a leading developer, owner and operator of renewable energy projects in Brazil delivers low cost, sustainable power across Brazil whilst ensuring a positive socioeconomic impact. Denham Sustainable Infrastructure’s investment and support has made Rio Energy into a nationally significant renewable energy platform in Brazil, creating a substantial portfolio of operational and under construction onshore wind projects, as well as an attractive pipeline of onshore wind and solar projects, generating clean, low-cost energy.
The sale of selected Rio Energy projects represents another example of Denham Sustainable Infrastructure’s investment strategy to acquire and build market-leading companies that support the global energy transition.
At closing of the transaction, Rio Energy companies operating under the Rio Energy trade name will be fully-owned by an Equinor subsidiary, and approximately 140 of Rio Energy’s employees will continue to manage and develop the portfolio. The acquired portfolio consists of the 0.2 GW Serra da Babilônia 1 producing onshore wind farm in the north-eastern state of Bahia, a 0.6 GW pre-construction solar PV portfolio, and a project pipeline of c.1.2 GW.
Denham is retaining 1.1 GW of Rio Energy’s assets, including three operational onshore wind projects: the 0.1 GW Caetité project; the 0.2 GW Itarema project; and the 0.2 GW Serra da Babilônia 3 project. It is also retaining the c. 0.2 GW in construction Caetité Norte onshore wind project and c. 0.4 GW of onshore wind and solar pipeline projects. Denham is establishing a new management team for these projects, and will continue to have close oversight at the board level, including board representation from Brazilian energy market experts. Denham intends to bring these projects to the market in the coming year.
The transaction is subject to typical regulatory and lender approvals.
Sarah Lane, Managing Director, Denham Sustainable Infrastructure said: “Rio Energy’s impressive progress since inception of the investment is a great example of Denham Sustainable Infrastructure’s value-add strategy to support industry-leading teams that deliver low-cost, sustainable power generation in high-growth economies.
The sale of these Rio Energy assets demonstrates Denham’s proven equity investment strategy, delivering sustainable growth alongside value creation in the middle market, and has positioned Rio Energy management for their next phase of expansion to deliver sustainable energy in Brazil.
We are proud of what Rio Energy management has achieved in partnership with Denham, and we are excited to see it now move on to its next stage of growth with Equinor.”
Marcos Meireles, CEO and co-founder of Rio Energy, said: “We are delighted with the success we have achieved in partnership with Denham, to develop critical power generation for Brazil, and ensure positive socioeconomic impacts locally.
We believe that now is the right time to move forward with Equinor, as we strive to deliver on our commitment to bring about a more sustainable future for Brazil.
Our current portfolio of nationally important infrastructure projects alongside a considerable pipeline will support the country’s renewable energy ambitions. We look forward to the next stage of this journey.”
Denham was advised by Sidley Austin LLP, Lefosse Advogados, Itaú BBA, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch Banco Múltiplo.
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