EPURON Pte. Ltd. Singapore, a regional subsidiary of the Conergy Group in Asia-Pacific, and GE unit GE Energy Financial Services have launched Asia-Pacific's first renewable energy private trust to spur their growth and investments in wind, solar, small hydroelectric, biogas and biomass power generation throughout the region. The Renewable Energy Trust Asia (“RETA”) is an investment vehicle focused on the US$7 billion annual renewable energy markets of India, the ASEAN countries and South Korea.
It plans to build a portfolio of some 200 megawatts through potential investments totalling US$250 million (S$380 million) within the next five years.
With an 80 percent stake, GE Energy Financial Services will serve as RETA’s anchor investor. In addition to maintaining its core expertise in greenfield development, EPURON will hold a 20 percent stake in RETA and act as its Trustee-Manager. EPURON will be responsible for sourcing third party projects as well as performing its own project development, debt financing and hardware acquisition of renewable energy projects. After projects have been completed, EPURON will manage them. RETA will acquire and operate projects from both EPURON and third parties and expects to make its first investment within a year.
Both parties will share the Trust expenses and decide on each proposed investment when presented. Financial details were not disclosed.
“This sophisticated investment vehicle offers great opportunities to develop in future even more commercial-scale renewable power projects in Asia-Pacific. These projects secure predictable cash flow and long-term capital growth and are therefore a particularly interesting asset class for investors, despite the volatile financial markets. Our close partnership with GE ensures that our project developers in Asia-Pacific know right from the start what criteria projects must meet to fit the trust. Thus we can use our resources in a much more specific and efficient way,” said Joachim Mueller, Managing Director EPURON.
Conergy CEO Dieter Ammer added: “We are building long-term relationships between highly specialised partners with a strong track record in their respective business areas. This is one of the answers to the challenges that we have to manage in times of financial turbulence. With the Renewable Energy Trust Asia, we will combine EPURON’s renewable energy project development and financial expertise with GE Energy Financial Services’ world-class origination and underwriting capabilities, as well as its access to technology.”
GE Energy Financial Services, which has already invested more than US$4 billion in renewable energy, sees the trust with EPURON as a new platform for its growth.
“This innovative trust is an efficient way for us to partner with an experienced developer and aggregate a diversified portfolio of smaller renewable energy investments in Asia,” said James Berner, the Singapore-based head of Asia at GE Energy Financial Services. “The renewable energy trust is also a way for us to contribute to GE’s ecomagination program, its initiative of helping its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.”
Once a sufficient investment volume has been achieved, RETA may be listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (“SGX-ST”) stock exchange, becoming the first pure-play renewable energy business trust to be listed in Asia-Pacific.
This first “green” trust in Asia-Pacific and the collaboration with GE serve as a potential model for realising commercial-scale renewable energy projects with the Conergy Group in other regions.