Foresight announces £60 million Solar Bond

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Key Highlights

• The largest bond issue to date for UK Solar
• Index-linked yield and infrastructure risk profile
• UK Solar market growing rapidly

Foresight Group (Foresight), the Infrastructure, Environmental and Private Equity asset management group, announces the issue of a £60m solar bond, which has been used to refinance its existing portfolio of UK solar assets, located in Kent, Somerset and Wiltshire. The bond will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

This successful bond issue, for which Independent Debt Capital Markets LLP (IDCM) acted as Arranger and Sole Bookrunner, is the largest solar bond issued to date in the UK and is a further endorsement of the low risk profile of operating solar power plants.  Regulatory changes in the banking sector have led to bond instruments becoming more attractive as a refinancing mechanism. The index-linked revenue stream for UK solar assets offers institutional investors an attractive fixed income-like return given the current low yields of index-linked treasury gilts.

Foresight is an established investor in the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Infrastructure Sector with more than £310 million of solar assets under management in the UK, Italy, Spain and the United States, where it has recently opened an office in San Francisco.  Foresight intends to make further use of similar innovative financing structures in order to develop its solar portfolio both across Europe and the United States.

Ricardo Piñeiro, Investment Manager at Foresight commented: “After more than five years in the solar sector, we are pleased to have put this structure in place which is forecast to deliver enhanced returns to our equity investors. Foresight plans to deploy a further £250 million into new large scale ground based solar projects in the UK over the next 12 months and we can offer greater value to developers and other owners of solar projects given our efficient capital structure.  We are finding growing appetite from both institutional and retail investors, who see solar power as a maturing asset class with an attractive risk profile.”

Jean-Christophe Oberto, Partner at IDCM commented: “This transaction is a further demonstration of the attractiveness of our financing solution for the Solar PV Sector. Having now arranged more than £100 million of solar bond issuance, IDCM is a pioneer in solar bond financing and we are delighted to partner with asset managers such as Foresight to offer our clients a comprehensive financing solution which will contribute to the development of the renewable sector as a whole”.


For more information, please contact at Foresight Group:
Ben Thompson, Marketing Director  Tel: +44 (0)20 3667 8155

Notes to Editors

About Foresight Group
Foresight Group has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for 28 years. With a background in Private Equity and Venture Capital, Foresight has diversified activities and today manages institutional funds principally in European Infrastructure (Solar and PPP), Environmental and UK small cap Private Equity, including six years of specific Infrastructure experience.

Foresight has in excess of £650 million assets under management.  Foresight’s solar funds have invested in more than £310 million of operating PV assets in the UK, Italy and Spain.

In the solar sector, Foresight’s European Solar JV platform, ForVEI, includes participation by substantial global infrastructure investors such as France’s CDC Infrastructure and Italy’s Generali Group.  Foresight recently announced a joint venture with Greentech Energy Systems to invest in solar PV infrastructure in the United States.

Foresight has successfully closed fundraisings for Foresight Solar VCT at £38 million, Foresight Solar EIS at £27.5 million in 2011 and, in 2012, fully subscribed at £33 million, its unique Infrastructure VCT Shares offering which is currently investing predominantly in UK based secondary PFI projects.

Foresight is currently raising £40 million from retail investors for UK solar assets underpinned by the UK Government’s Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme through Foresight Solar EIS Fund 2 and Foresight Solar VCT - “C” shares.  In the year to 5 April 2013 Foresight had already raised in excess of £30 million for these vehicles.

About IDCM
Established in late 2009, IDCM delivers bespoke and innovative funding solutions across the capital spectrum, partnering with clients to meet their individual needs, strategic plans and financing requirements.

IDCM’s access to non-bank capital providers is broad and it works discretely with these institutions to provide financing solutions tailored to borrowers’ needs. IDCM’s approach is applicable to a broad range of industries with a particular expertise in infrastructure (utilities, energy, transport), property and natural resource sectors.

IDCM’s is an Appointed Representative of Mirabaud Securities LLP, who are part of the Swiss private banking group, Mirabaud & Cie, one of Switzerland’s oldest and most prestigious private banking organisations that was established in 1819 and is a member of the Groupement des Banquiers Privés Genevois.

About Solar Power – Key Facts
• A mature sector
o 101GW installed globally
o 30GW installed globally during 2012 – an increase in global capacity of over 40% in 12 months.
• UK Solar installations now exceeding 2GW 
o up from 1.4GW in July 2012
o up from 250MW July 2011
o 1.1GW solar installed in UK during 2012
o Demand for PV Solar in Q1 2013 forecast to exceed 0.5GW – equivalent to a 25% capacity increase in three months and double the rate of installation in 2012 (solarpowerportal)
• Solar PV now included in DECC’s priority renewable technologies in the Renewables Roadmap
• DECC forecasting between 7GW and 20GW installed in UK by 2020
• Solar has highest degree of UK public support for energy technology at 82% - compared to 66% for onshore wind (Source DECC)
• Ministerial Quotes from speech delivered by Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change at the Launch of the National Solar Centre January 2013
“...Now, as we prepare to pass the 2GW threshold, we can rightly say that solar is coming of age. It is reliable, accessible, increasingly affordable and totally scalable...”

“...the Renewables Roadmap Update set out our ambition. We have the ability – and more importantly, the ambition – to see a 10 fold increase in solar power by 2020....”.