I Squared Capital backs solar power firm Amplus

Infrastructure-focused private investment firm I Squared Capital (ISQ) has invested an undisclosed amount in Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd, an owner and operator of distributed rooftop solar power in India, as per a company statement.

The investment, routed through its maiden fund ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund, marks the second known deal for the PE firm. Last December, it said it will be acquiring Jaipur Mahua Tollway Pvt Ltd (JMTPL), a firm managing the toll road that connects Jaipur with Agra, from Malaysia-based IJM Corporation.

Founded in 2012, Amplus is run by veterans of the power industry with experience in companies such as AES, NTPC, Mirant and SBI Capital Markets.

The company is headed by Sanjeev Aggarwal, former director - business development at AES (India) Pvt. Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of the US energy major AES Corp. The firm is one of the significant foreign investors in the Indian power sector.

Amplus is setting up an office in Singapore to pursue opportunities there as well as in other Southeast Asian countries.

“We provide construction capital, guaranteed implementation timelines as well as ongoing operations and maintenance. Our power purchase agreements offer customised tariff options lower than grid tariffs—the resulting savings can begin from day one of installation. With sizeable backing from I Squared Capital, we now have the resources and capital to build a leading distributed solar company in India and Southeast Asia,” said Aggarwal.

It is looking to leverage the opportunities in distributed or rooftop solar power. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has targeted the development of 40 gigawatts of rooftop solar power by 2020.

“Meeting such a goal requires substantial investment from both the public and private sectors,” said Gautam Bhandari, partner at ISQ.

ISQ raised $3 billion in a global fund to invest in assets across several markets, including India.

In October last year, ISQ joined hands with International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, to provide equity investment of up to $90 million and a total debt investment of up to $150 million in an unnamed Singapore-based holding company of ISQ to acquire operating road assets in India.

Founded in 2012 by former Morgan Stanley executives, ISQ is an independent global infrastructure investment manager focusing on energy, utilities and transport in North America, Europe and select high growth economies.

It was started by Sadek Wahba (former global head of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure), Gautam Bhandari (earlier head of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure in India, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa) along with Adil Rahmathulla (head of investment execution in the Americas for the group).

Bhandari had led a few large deals for Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners with investments in companies such as Asian Genco, Indus Concessions and a buyout of wind power firm Continuum Wind Energy. Not all of these turned out to be great investments.

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