Korean Group Buying Renewable Energy Giant in $855M Deal

South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions announced it plans to acquire renewable energy developer RES France in an $855.2 million deal expected to be finalized in the next two months. RES France is a subsidiary of UK-based RES Group, which calls itself the world’s largest independent renewable energy company.

The agreement announced Aug. 9 is led by Hanwha Q Cells, the green energy division of Hanwha. The deal means Hanwha would own RES France’s wind and solar power projects, which comprise about 5 GW of generation capacity. Hanwha Solutions has previously said it sees France as one of the most attractive markets for renewable energy, and the move supports the company’s intention to add onshore and offshore wind projects to its current solar-heavy portfolio.

Hee Cheul “Charles” Kim, CEO of Hanwha Q Cells, in a statement said, “Decisive actions can make a company much more sustainable and profitable. Thanks to the bold vision of Hanwha Solutions Corporation, this contemplated acquisition shows that Q Cells is willing to move boldly into the French renewable energy market and to make a significant contribution to the French energy transition, while also accelerating our transformation into a leading provider of total energy solutions that are delivered cleanly, sustainably and reliably.”

“Upon completion, the capital raised will help strengthen RES position as we look to accelerate the growth of the business globally by expanding our Development Portfolio and Support Services offering,” said RES Chairman Gavin McAlpine in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the continued success of the team in France under the contemplated new ownership and the potential of partnering with Hanwha Solutions in the future.” RES began operating in France in 1999 and has nine regional offices.

‘Economies of Scale’

Hanwha in a statement said the acquisition of European projects will enable the company to “achieve economies of scale in the region, where it can supply photovoltaic modules more stably.” Monday’s announcement noted that the acquisition will double the Q Cells division’s clean energy project pipeline in Europe to about 10 GW. That division has a European office in Germany.

A statement attributed to a Hanwha company official said, “The acquisition, which will be finalized by October, will increase the global capacity of Hanwha Solutions’ clean energy projects to 15 GW from the current 10 GW. Hanwha Solutions will be able to achieve economies of scale by supplying its solar modules to projects in Europe, as 10 GW is concentrated in the region.”

The statement continued: “In France, it takes five to seven years from getting a license to completing a renewable energy facility. Also, transactions of projects are rare, so it’s difficult for new players to enter the market. For Hanwha Solutions, RES France is the perfect partner.”

This RES France wind farm in France is among the projects that would be owned by South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions under terms of a deal announced Aug. 9. Courtesy: Hanwha Solutions

The deal specifically involves Hanwha Solutions sealing an exclusivity and put option agreement, or POA, to acquire 100% of the equity interest of RES Mediterranee SAS, commonly known as RES France. The companies on Monday said a final deal will be signed after a consultation process, with closing of the transaction expected in October.

Dozens of Projects

RES France has delivered 68 renewable energy projects in France in the past 20 years, including solar installations along with onshore and offshore wind farms.

“The sale process of RES’ Development and Construction activities in France has attracted extremely strong interest from many players in the sector, underlining the excellence and performance of our activities in the French market,” said Jean-Francois, managing director of RES France, in a statement. “We are very grateful to all our French teams who have been fully engaged during the last months to make this possible. This is a great opportunity to continue to build on this success with Hanwha Solutions, to accelerate our growth and consolidate our leadership position in the French market, upon completion of the transaction.”

Hanwha Solutions said that Q Cells’ existing European projects, prior to the new acquisitions, are concentrated on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, in parts of Spain and Portugal.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

SHARE this article