New investment in clean energy falls to four-year low of $46.1 billion in 1Q13
Project finance posts 45% quarterly decline as US investment stalls
M&A activity congregates around wind power assets
Venture capital and private equity investment remains flat
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London and New York - April 16, 2013 (Investorideas.com renewable energy newswire) Clean Energy Pipeline, the online daily financial news and data service dedicated to the clean energy sector, today releases its preliminary analysis of venture capital, private equity, project finance, public markets and mergers and acquisitions activity during 1Q13. A copy is available for download here.
Total investment in the global clean energy sector fell to $46.1 billion in 1Q13, a 35% decrease on the $70.7 billion recorded in 4Q12 and a 31% decrease on the $66.6 billion invested in the corresponding quarter in 2012. Investment is now at its lowest quarterly level since 2Q09.
"At the end of last year a rush to finance US wind energy projects before the expected expiration of the production tax credit and the closure of $5.7 billion financing for the first round of South African renewable energy projects artificially boosted investment volumes," commented Douglas Lloyd, CEO of Clean Energy Pipeline. "It was always going to be difficult to match this level of activity, particularly in the first quarter of the year."
"However, this sharp quarterly decline is not a one off. Total new investment has now fallen from a quarterly high of $88.3 billion in 4Q10 to $46 billion in 1Q13. Given ongoing subsidy cuts, low natural gas prices in North America and fragile capital markets, it’s hard to predict a reversal of this trend in the coming year."
Project finance hits four-year low
The primary reason for the significant decrease is a sizeable decline in clean energy project finance investment to $24.2 billion in 1Q13, a 45% decrease on the $44.0 billion invested in 4Q12 and a 37% decrease on the $38.3 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year. Project finance is now at its lowest level since 1Q09.
The sharp decrease was caused by a 50%+ decline in project finance activity in the USA and a pause in investment in Africa and South America . Despite the renewal of the US wind energy production tax credit (PTC) in January 2013, only $1.6 billion was invested in US wind energy projects in 1Q13, the lowest quarterly volume recorded in the last four years. This compares starkly with the $5.8 billion invested in US wind projects in 4Q12. The pipeline of financeable US wind energy projects has withered due to the uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the PTC at the end of last year.
Project finance levels were also dented by an absence of activity in emerging markets such as South America and Africa . Last quarter all 28 projects in window one of South Africa ’s renewable energy procurement programme closed financing totalling $5.7 billion. Projects in the second window were scheduled to reach financial close this quarter, which would have boosted project finance by approximately $3.3 billion. Delays have meant that these projects will now reach financial close this summer.
Absence of large deals constrains M&A activity
Clean Energy M&A activity totalled $11.0 billion in 1Q13, almost half the $20.8 billion recorded in 4Q12 and the $21.7 billion tracked in the corresponding period in 2012. The decrease was caused by an absence of large deals. Only three deals in excess of $500 million valued at $1.7 billion were announced in 1Q13, significantly less than the $12.3 billion worth of similar sized deals announced last quarter.
However, M&A activity remains strong in certain sectors. Acquisitions of wind power assets totalled $3.2 billion in 1Q13, 60% more than the quarterly average during the past three years. This increase was underpinned by large financial investors acquiring stakes in de-risked operational projects generating long term stable returns. By way of an example, pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec acquired a stake in 1,500 MW of operational wind capacity across North America from Invenergy in a deal valued at $500 million in January 2013.
Asian acquirers also continued to be active in 1Q13, announcing 11 acquisitions of non-Asian assets valued at $1.6 billion. This is in line with the quarterly average volume of Asian outbound acquisition activity in 2012 ($1.6 billion), but 45% ahead of the quarterly volume of international Asian M&A activity in 2011 ($1.1 billion).
Venture capital & private equity investment stabilizes
Global venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy (excluding buyouts) totalled $1.69 billion in 1Q13, a 1% uptick on the $1.67 billion recorded in 4Q12 but a 27% decrease on the $2.31 billion recorded in 1Q12. This is the first quarter-on-quarter increase since 3Q11. Even so, investment in 1Q13 remains 40% below the quarterly average of $2.8 billion during the past four years.
Biofuels was the largest sector for investment in 1Q13, accounting for 19% ($319 million) of total investment. This is the first time that biofuels has ever accounted for the largest share of investment on a quarterly basis. The increase was primarily a result of the $292 million secured by Brazilian cellulosic ethanol maker GraalBio in January 2013, which was the largest funding round in 1Q13.
Clean Energy public markets activity falls to four-year low
Clean energy companies secured a mere $586 million on the public markets in 1Q13, through a mixture of IPOs, secondaries and convertible notes. This is the lowest volume raised since 1Q09. The two most notable deals were Greencoat UK Wind, a wind energy investment fund managed by UK-based infrastructure fund Greencoat Capital, which raised $394 million through an oversubscribed IPO on the London Stock Exchange, and US smart grid IT company Silver Spring Networks, which secured $93 million through an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Clean Energy Pipeline is the leading independent provider of online financial news and data, operating solely in the clean technology and renewable energy sector. Our premium suite of desktop and mobile services provides access to subscription-based business news, transaction data (VC/PE, M&A, project/asset finance and public markets) and a global directory of professionals active in the sector. Clean Energy pipeline also offers customised research and senior-level networking events.
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