Exxaro, Thungela said to be facing off for $800m renewables firm

Wind turbines

TWO of South Africa’s largest coal mining firms Exxaro Resources and Thungela Resources are considering bids for BTE Renewables, a company owned by Actis LLP, said Bloomberg News in a September 29 report.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the newswire said Chinese firms were also interested in acquiring the assets. Actis, a London-based private equity company, is seeking about $800m for the company, Bloomberg said.

From Australia to South Africa, companies and governments are looking to expand into cleaner projects in a bid to cut emissions and reduce their dependence on the dirtiest fuel, the newswire said. BTE generates 436MW of electricity from its solar and wind-power plants in South Africa and Kenya, according to the company’s website.

Exxaro, Thungela and Actis declined to comment about the potential deal.

Deliberations are ongoing and the companies could decide not to proceed with the bidding process, the people said. Actis could also retain the asset for longer, they added.

South Africa, the continent’s most-industrialized nation, generates the majority of its power from coal and is attempting to accelerate development of green energy. Companies are also considering their own generation due to the unreliability of supply from state-owned Eskom.

Actis, which appointed Citigroup Inc. to advise on the deal, is looking to cash in on a booming market for new power projects across Africa, where demand for electricity is growing, said Bloomberg News. Actis sold a majority stake in Lekela Power earlier this year.