Green light for two renewable energy mergers in SA

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South Africa’s competition watchdog has given the green light for two mergers of companies that supply renewable energy to power utility Eskom.

In a statement, the Competition Tribunal says it has approved, without conditions, the transaction whereby Greenstreet, through its Stanlib Fund II SPV, will acquire shareholding in Solar Capital De Aar 3 (SCDA 3) from existing shareholders.

Post-merger, says the regulator, Stanlib Fund II SPV will exercise joint control over SCDA 3.

The other merger involves the tribunal unconditionally approving the transaction, whereby multinational electric utility company Engie Global Developments will acquire sole control of Xina Concentrated Solar Power (Xina CSP) and joint control of Xina CSP Operations and Maintenance (Xina O&M).

Stanlib Fund II SPV is a private equity investment fund established to acquire a portfolio of infrastructure assets, says the tribunal.

It is ultimately controlled and owned by Stanlib Asset Management, which is, in turn, wholly-owned and controlled by Stanlib, it adds.

The tribunal notes that of relevance to the proposed transaction are the controlling interests held by the acquiring group in various wind and solar photo-voltaic (PV) independent power producers (IPPs) that operate under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

SCDA 3, the target firm, is a renewable energy project company and does not control any firms, the tribunal explains, pointing out that as an IPP, SCDA 3 is contracted to supply solar PV energy to Eskom under the REIPPPP.

SDCA 3 is located in the Northern Cape within the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality, and the tribunal approved the transaction without conditions.

On the second deal, the competition watchdog says Engie is a private company incorporated in accordance with the laws of the Netherlands.

In SA, Engie directly and indirectly controls various firms. It supplies a mix of renewable energy sources through its energy projects (power plants) located in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape.

Xina CSP, a company incorporated in SA, is a special purpose vehicle wholly-owned and controlled by South Africa Solar Investments, a private company incorporated in accordance with the laws of Spain.

In SA, Xina CSP controls Xina Solar One, which houses the Xina Solar One Project. Xina Solar One is a private company incorporated in accordance with the laws of SA, says the tribunal.

It adds that Xina O&M is also a South African firm controlled by Abengoa South Africa.

The competition watchdog points out that Xina CSP O&M operates and maintains the Xina Solar One plant – a concentrated solar power plant in the Northern Cape.

It sells solar power to Eskom, and the Xina Solar One Project is involved in the production of renewable energy (electricity) using solar PV (a photo-voltaic cell, commonly called a solar cell − a non-mechanical device that converts sunlight into electricity).

The tribunal concluded that the proposed transaction is unlikely to lead to a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in the national market for renewable solar PV energy, or in the narrow market for the supply of electricity to Eskom by renewable energy producers using solar PV energy.

In addition, the tribunal says the transaction is unlikely to result in any negative effects on the public interest; in particular, on employment or shareholding by historically disadvantaged persons.

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