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Italian infrastructure fund F2i buys Spanish solar developer Renovalia

Italian infrastructure fund Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture Societa' di Gestione del Risparmio SpA has bought Spanish renewables developer Renovalia Energy Group SL from Cerberus Capital Management LP, marking its entry into one of the hottest solar markets in Europe.

The deal involves an installed portfolio of 102 MW, spread across nine solar parks, as well as 850 MW from projects under development, according to a Dec. 16 press release. The Italian fund, known as F2i, is acquiring the company through its subsidiary EF Solare Italia for an undisclosed amount. The deal values Renovalia at around €700 million including debt, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the deal.

Spain's solar market has been booming this year, with a newly established regulatory framework drawing foreign investors after years of drought for the industry, which was hit by retroactive subsidy cuts under a previous government.

This year, Spain will add 4,700 MW of new solar power plants and become the single largest market in Europe, industry association Solar Power Europe predicts. The government is expected to pass ambitious green energy targets next year, which could sustain development activity through the next decade.

"The Spanish market has considerable growth potential as the government has committed to increasing the country's solar capacity five-fold over the next ten years," F2i said in its announcement, adding that Renovalia was "well positioned to be involved in this new investment cycle."

Renovalia also has 680 MW of wind capacity in operation, according to its website, and it was unclear whether the deal with F2i includes any of those assets. Reuters reported in May that Renovalia was close to selling a portfolio of Spanish wind farms to France's Ardian.

Apart from Spain, Renovalia says it is active in Italy, Hungary, the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Chile. Through EF Solare, F2i already operates 853 MW of solar and approximately 1,000 MW of wind capacity in Italy.

Carloandrea Meacci, a partner in the energy and infrastructure practice at law firm Ashurst in Milan, said the Renovalia deal "shows that consolidation continues to increase and potentially also [to] cross borders" among Italian renewable operators. "I think we will continue to see more of this," Meacci said.

Spanish news provider El Confidencial reported this week that Enel SpA-owned utility Endesa SA has agreed to buy a 1,000-MW solar project pipeline from renewable group Prodiel Energy Espana Sl for €90 million, according to S&P Global Platts.

S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts are owned by S&P Global Inc.