Eni SpA expanded its clean-energy business with a pair of wind and solar deals in Spain and France.
The transactions are the latest evidence that major oil companies are coming out of the COVID-19 downturn with the intention of channeling extra investment into renewable energy. Eni, like its European peers, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of this century.
The Italian company, through its fully owned subsidiary Eni Gas e Luce, agreed to acquire a portfolio of 1.2 gigawatts of solar and wind assets in Spain from private equity manager Azora, according to a statement on Monday. It also announced the takeover of Dhamma Energy Group’s solar operations in France and Spain. No values were disclosed for the deals.
The pressure to cut carbon emissions and help prevent damaging climate change is forcing the world’s largest energy companies to transform their businesses. As well as boosting production of low-carbon energy, the oil majors are rethinking their relationship with customers who in the future may be driving electric cars and generating their own renewable power.
In April, Eni started to consider forming a new corporate entity combining its retail and renewable energy activities, in which it could potentially sell a minority stake or offer shares to the public.
“France and Spain are pivotal markets in which the company will increasingly enhance its value through the integration between retail and renewables,” chief executive officer Claudio Descalzi said in the statement.
The Azora deal includes 230 megawatts of onshore wind, with three operational farms and one that’s under construction. It also includes about 1 gigawatt of solar capacity from five projects that are in development. Eni and Azora will work on a broader strategic agreement to further scale up the oil company’s renewable energy platform in Spain, according to the statement.
The Dhamma portfolio includes three gigawatts of projects in initial stages of development in both countries, and about 120 megawatts of plants in advanced stages of development or in operation in France. Dhamma’s team will be integrated into Eni Gas e Luce to help develop the projects.
Dhamma said its founders will pursue their activities in other markets such as Mexico, and in the green hydrogen business. It used Nomura Greentech as financial adviser for the deal, and Fieldfisher and Gomez-Acebo & Pombo as legal advisers.
Eni Gas e Luce has 1.3 million customers through its French unit. In Spain the company sells natural gas to households and enterprises through Aldro Energía Y Soluciones S.L.
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