Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. is in separate talks with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Mubadala Investment Co. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. to sell its entire 80% stake in Indian green energy firm SBG Cleantech, two people aware of the development said.
Bank of America (BofA) and Barclays have been appointed to run the stake sale process as well as raise around $500 million through a dollar bond, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.
Softbank’s plan to sell its entire stake comes after a previous attempt where it hired Mizuho Bank to find a ‘significant’ minority investor. SBG Cleantech is a joint venture between SoftBank and Bharti Enterprises.
A SoftBank spokesperson in an emailed response said, “SB Energy is exploring potential co-investment partnerships to accelerate the growth of its leading renewable energy platform. Given recent and growing interest in ESG (environmental, social and governance) investments at scale, SoftBank decided to take further steps towards identifying a growth partner. SoftBank is committed to the long-term success of SB Energy.” SB Energy Corp. is owned by Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank.
SBG Cleantech has invested around $800 million for its 7.7 GW Indian solar portfolio. The Economic Times on July 1 reported SBG Cleantech has approached Brookfield for $500-600 million.
Spokespersons for CPPIB and Bank of America declined comment. Queries emailed to spokespersons for Bharti Enterprises, Mubadala, Brookfield, Barclays and Mizuho on Friday remained unanswered.
Analysts say India’s solar space has been plagued by execution-related issues in land acquisition, regulation and financial closure.
“The domestic solar capacity addition in FY2019-20 has remained lower by about 15% than ICRA’s previous estimate (7-7.5GW), mainly on account of the disruption in supply chain and execution disruption in Q4 FY2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The solar capacity addition in FY 2020-21 is further expected to remain subdued given the continued execution challenges post lockdown restrictions,” ICRA said in a statement on Monday.