IIICorp Opportunity of the Week: Sonnedix gets loan approval from Green Climate Fund for 143MW solar project in Chile worth USD 265m

The South Korea-based Green Climate Fund recently approved a loan worth USD 49m to a large-scale solar PV project coming up in the Atacama desert in northern Chile implemented by US-based independent power producer (IPP) Sonnedix. Sonnedix, founded in 2010, has raised over USD 554m in equity to date from founders, management, private, and institutional investors. Sonnedix is a JV owned and controlled by Sonnedix Global Holdings Ltd and IIF Solar Investment Ltd (JPM IIF), an entity controlled by the Infrastructure Investment Fund.

The project will have an installed capacity of 143MW (likely AC-rated, while DC-rated capacity will be around 170MW). The project will have the capacity for expansion up to 250MW. The project is expected to require a total investment of USD 265m, with the USD 49m loan being disbursed through the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). The project will start selling electricity at USD 4.4 per kWh from 2017 onward. This tariff is however expected to increase gradually to reach USD 8 per kWh by 2035.

The EPC and operation and maintenance (O&M) for the project is by Biosar Energy SA, which was acquired in 2012 by the Greece-based AKTOR S.A.

To connect the Atacama solar PV plant power substation, 45.5km of transmission lines and grid connection equipment at the Lagunas substation will be developed by Transelec SA under a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contract and repaid under a 25-year lease with fixed payments and repurchase option of USD 1.

Recently, the Chile government approved legislation that will create a new interconnected transmission network to be established alongside a new independent operator. This will ensure that power generated from renewable energy projects located in remote regions of the country is supplied to population centers.

 

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IIICorp Opportunity of the Week: Unitel’s two-pronged strategy gains momentum in Southeast Asia, lands PT Pertamina catalyst systems deal

Unitel Technologies is supplying Indonesian state-owned oil firm PT Pertamina with its proprietary Octave catalyst research system under the terms of a deal signed recently, according to CEO Serge Randhava. Meanwhile, the company is laying the groundwork to capitalize on a major natural gas-related opportunity in the region.

The deal with PT Pertamina is likely to be worth about USD 2m for the Matawan, New Jersey-based specialty process engineering firm that designs and builds pilot- and full-scale oil and natural gas processing facilities. In March, the CEO told this news service that his firm was in talks to supply Octave systems to multiple oil companies in Southeast Asia.

Unitel’s revenues typically do not exceed USD 15m annualy because it’s primarily a technology firm and sub-contracts much of the engineering work required for its projects to other companies.

Regional LNG opportunities

Randhava said that the opportunity to sell catalyst research systems in Indonesia, and Southeast Asia at large, pales in comparison to opportunities to sell its process engineering services and technologies to the region’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Unitel was selected earlier this year by the Korea Gas Technology Corporation (KOGAS) to conduct the front end engineering and design work needed to commercialize a “small-scale LNG business opportunity,” according to a press release from January. KOGAS, the world’s largest importer of LNG, is aiming to design, build and operate multiple 200 TPD LNG mini-plants that will create a virtual pipeline to supply product for local transportation fuel and power generation applications, Randhava said. Eventually, the Korean company would like to build the small-scale plants in countries in need of critical natural gas infrastructure, he said.

“The opportunities to develop small-scale LNG plants should be of great interest to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia,” Randhava said. “I’m excited about that; [KOGAS] is aggressive.”

One application for the small-scale LNG technology KOGAS is developing might be at the Vietnam Block B development, Randhava said. PetroVietnam is aiming to produce 107bn cubic meters of gas and 12.65 million barrels of condensate from offshore Block B, of which 5.06bcm are expected to be brought onshore per year from 2020 to 2040. The fuel is expected to be used to power plants in the Kien Giang and O Mon district of Can Tho city. The initiative entails an investment of about USD 6.08bn.

Randhava noted that the company plans to move onshore only about half of the gas it is producing from Block B. He said that it is likely planning ot either make LNG in small-scale plants onshore for distribution throughout the country, or convert it into dimethyl ether for use in Vietnam and neighboring countries.

Opportunity Size: 15m USD

 

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Exploring PE Investing in Niche Manufacturing & Industrial Services Companies with Capital Roundtable

Middle market industrial-focused private equity (PE) firms are increasingly turning to the world’s fastest growing economies to boost portfolio company returns at a time of sluggish economic growth in the US.

Growing a portfolio company’s international footprint is key to increasing returns today, according to participants in a recent Capital Roundtable conference entitled Private Equity Investing in Niche Manufacturing & Industrial Services Companies: Strategies for Enabling Profitability in a No-Growth Environment. Opportunistic international expansions into complex markets such as China, India and Brazil can distinguish a company from its competitors, in effect boosting its value to strategic buyers.

Bolt-on acquisitions of production facilities, suppliers, distributors or other assets appear to be the favored approach of PE companies keen to push portfolio firms into new markets. That’s because it’s challenging to facilitate organic growth via greenfield expansion projects in a roughly two to five year timeframe. Also, other forms of international expansion, such as joint ventures, frequently complicate both PE firms’ ability to control the day-to-day operation of portfolio company’s business and the process of exiting an investment.

Expanding via M&A does not come without challenges. Firms may find it difficult to navigate complex accounting, regulatory and compliance rules associated with new markets, according to attendees at the Capital Roundtable event. Also, they have difficulty identifying managerial talent in foreign countries, despite the emergence of new sources of talent in recent years.

Growing a portfolio company’s footprint beyond the US’ borders can be worthwhile, particularly for PE firms with the time facilitate long-term growth. But the expansion process is not without its pitfalls.

On Thursday 10 November, IIICORP and The Capital Roundtable will be hosting a conference entitled “Best Practices for PE Portfolio Companies to do Business Globally”.

 

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IIICorp opportunity of the week: GMH seeks funding for proposed USD 800m Tamil Nadu-based TPP

General Mediterranean Holding (GMH) is looking for financiers for its proposed 1030MW merchant thermal power plant at Kattuppalli Village in Thirvallur district in Tamil Nadu (TN), according to Justin Paul, the President Technical at Chennai Power Generation Limited (CPGL), the Indian subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based company.

“The project is awaiting environment clearance, land acquisition, and fuel-supply agreement for the power plant and we will look at financial closure of the plant in the first quarter of 2018,” Paul told this news service.

The company president did not provide a timeline when the EPC tenders would be invited but said that the bids would be invited soon after the environment clearances and fuel supply agreements are in place.

The 1030MW power project had experienced difficulties when North Chennai Power Company Limited refused to spare 70 acres of land to CPGL for the plant due to a reported overlap in location of the two companies’ power plants. The terms of reference (ToR) for the project were initially issued in 2009, however these expired in 2013 due to the inability to resolve the land issue. A fresh application to issue the ToR was submitted in September 2015, which was approved in early June this year.

The total project investment (TPI) comprises USD 788.5m (Rs. 5245.6 crore) and the facility will source coal from Indonesia and Australia. It will consist of two 515MW steam turbine generator (STG) sets and two pulverized coal-fired subcritical boilers. The balance of plant (BoP) package will comprise the coal and ash handling plant, water treatment plant, desalination plant, compressed air system, electrical controls, instrumentation and control, and chimney, all of which cost USD 639.3m.

The total plant area will cover about 319 acres of land, including an ash pond area, along with 23 acres within Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area that will be utilized as corridor for sea water pipeline and for coal conveying at a total cost of USD 27.5m.

There will also be a requirement for the installation of electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) and flue gahis weeks desulfurization (FGD) systems however these will be decided based on the fuel supply agreement signed.

“If required, we will invite separate bids for the construction of the FGD plant,” said Paul.

 

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IIICorp Opportunity of the Week: Andhra Pradesh in talks with Chinese firms for partnership in its proposed USD 16bn hydrocarbon complex

The State Government of Andhra Pradesh(AP) is in talks with Chinese partners for a potential partnership to develop its proposed USD 16bn cracker complex in the port town of Machilipatnam.

“We had a Chinese delegation representing a potential consortium partner inspecting the land proposed for the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR),” said CHSS Prasad, Chief General Manager (Projects), Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC). APIIC is the nodal agency implementing the project along with Vishakhaptnam Development Authority and the industries department of the AP state government. He however declined to share further details of the potential partner, citing confidentiality.

The plan is to put together a consortium of state-owned oil companies, exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) along with private global players who have expertise in developing a facility of this magnitude. This news service had earlier reported that Dubai-based Al Kharash Contracting Co was one of those global players that had showed initial interest.

In a cracker complex of this scale, the refinery, or the mother cracker, creates raw material or feedstock for several chemical-making units, where the end-user industries involve polymers and pharmaceuticals, among others. Once completed, this will be India’s largest cracker unit with a capacity of 10 million metric tons per annum (MMTPA).

An industry source said a mother cracker complex of this size will open up opportunities to equipment suppliers from developed markets in the US and Europe. According to a previous working paper published by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), India currently has three naphtha-based, three gas-based, and one mixed-feed cracker units with a combined ethylene capacity of 3.3MMTPA.

The major feedstock used in petrochemical units is naphtha and natural gas (propane and butane), while the major intermediate products produced in the country are ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene and xylene, which are used in a variety of industries.

 

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IIICorp Featured Opportunity of the Week – China Three Gorges, SGCC in the frame to buy stakes in Brazil’s Santo Antônio do Jari hydropower project

Odebrecht Energia, a unit of Brazilian construction major Odebrecht SAGrupo Cemig, and Construtora Andrade Gutierrez could be negotiating the sale of their respective stakes [totaling 51% at about USD 2.6bn (CNY 17bn)], in the Santo Antônio do Jari hydropower project.China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) and State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) are two of the candidates to pick up the stakes.

The Santo Antônio do Jari project is built on the Madeira River in Rondônia. It has an installed capacity of 3568MW, when all the turbines will be installed, which is estimated to be around November 2016.

“The Brazilian entities reach out to CTG and SGCC, and expect to sell the stakes to Chinese corporations. They are also in talks with the companies from other countries,” said Li Chang, a source from China’s Economic and Commercial Counsellor in Brazil, a part of the People’s Republic’s Ministry of Commerce.

“This deal is in process. But they decline to share more information with us,” Li added.

 

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Upcoming ICorp Events and Conferences

The ICorp team have been on the road recently, from Singapore, to Miami, to Rome, to Philadelphia. Our founder and CEO, Charlie Welsh, had the opportunity to speak as a panelist at the Association of Trade & Forfaiting in the Americas annual gathering (pictured below). We also recently attended the Special Libraries Association Conference and TXF Conference at the Four Seasons Rome. These have provided valuable forums  for sharing insight with our peers and colleagues. We’re proud to have the opportunity to showcase our product, the world’s first foreign industrial equipment supplier funding origination platform.

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ICorp will be attending and exhibiting at several conferences, expos and events in the coming weeks, so please be sure to visit our blog, homepage and Linkedin page for regular updates.

In the next month, find us at:

June 23-26      American Library Association Conference – Orlando, Florida

July 13-15         Business Librarians Association Conference – London, UK

July 16-19        American Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference – Chicago, Illinois

Are you attending or exhibiting at any of these? Be sure to connect with us on Linkedin or send us your details via our webform.