IFC to lend $50M to EDF-backed ACME Solar

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, is lending $50 million to ACME Solar Pvt Ltd, part of the ACME Group, for various solar power farms to be developed over the next two years.

Out of the $50 million, a local currency A loan of approximately $12.5 million-equivalent is proposed for ACME Solar Energy (Madhya Pradesh) Pvt Ltd to develop the 25 MW Madhya Pradesh project – expected to cost around $36 million. The firm has also entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with MP Power Management Company. This project is expected to be commissioned in November 2013.

ACME Solar is also developing several other projects and IFC may consider financing the solar projects in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh under this initiative.

ACME Solar is a holding company founded by ACME Tele Power to develop, construct and operate solar-generation assets in India. It has established a 15 MW photovoltaic plant in Gujarat and a 2.5 MW solar thermal plant in Rajasthan over the past two years.

Around 50 per cent stake in ACME Solar is held by Acme Cleantech Solutions Pvt Ltd while EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN) and Société Internationale d’Investissements Financiers ENR (SIIF ENR) own 25 per cent each.

ACME Group was founded by Manoj Upadhyay in 2003, with its flagship firm being ACME Tele Power Ltd – a provider of energy conservation and energy management solutions to leading telecom operators including Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications. The group has presence in more than 15 countries, employs 2,000 people and has an installed base of more than 150,000 telecom towers globally.

EDF EN, owned by the French electric utility giant EDF, is one of the key players in wind and solar photovoltaic power space. It has a total installed capacity of 5.3 GW plus an additional 1.3 GW under construction. As for solar PV capacity, 492 MW is now operational with an additional 203 MW under construction.

Luxembourg-based SIIF is majority-owned by Pâris Mouratoglou and his family, with David Corcha, former CEO of EDF EN, owning a minority stake.

IFC, which has been an active investor in Indian firms in the recent past, has especially been aggressive in its debt deals in India this year. Since January, it has committed debt capital of around $300 million to firms such as UltraTech Cement, Hikal, Dewan Housing Finance, Snowman Logistics, Suryoday Microfinance, HDFC, Bhilwara Energy and Cross Border Power Transmission Co.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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