Quercus: Successful €125m Bond Issue and First Special Dividend (~20%) for Investors.
Quercus Asset Selection, which specialises in renewable energy infrastructure investments, is pleased to announce that it has finalised the largest bond issue to date in Italy. It will target a portfolio of solar power plants through the subsidiary Azienda Solare Italiana (ASI), as well as distributing its first special dividend, equating to approximately 20%, from its Italian Solar Fund, launched earlier this year.The bond issue, named ASI Brainwave 2, amounts to approximately €125m at a 2.5% coupon rate with an expiration date of 20 years. The bond offering was oversubscribed by almost 3 times, with the majority of buyers originating from the insurance industry, which illustrates that institutional investors maintain their focus on, and confidence in, the renewable energy sector—and specifically the Quercus project.
The special dividend comes less than a year after the launch of the Italian Solar Fund and a few weeks after the first closing of €150m for the combined Italian Wind fund, Italian Solar fund and European MultiTech fund. Quercus, was founded by Diego Biasi,CEO, and is currently chaired by Vito Gamberale. Ownership of ASI is split evenly between Quercus and Swiss Life, the highly regarded Swiss insurance group rated AAA by S&P. ASI owns a portfolio of some of the most efficient solar farms in Italy, scattered across Lazio, Apulia and Sicily. Quercus and Swiss Life bought the company last June, and subsequently other farms were acquired as “add-ons” in the region of Molise.
The bond issue was carried out to optimise the debt structure of the entire portfolio.
Diego Biasi, CEO of Quercus, emphasises that “Due to the debt restructuring and other efficiency measures, we have managed to free up financial resources that will go towards a special dividend of approximately 20% of the capital invested by the Quercus Italian Solar Fund. The payment will be made in two stages: one before Christmas, and the other after the approval of the 2016 financial statements. We are extremely pleased to be able to return significant value to our longstanding and supportive shareholders” “We have been extremely effective at realising the investment opportunities that we identified” said Vito Gamberale, Chairman of Quercus “and we have turned investors’ commitments into actual and highly profitable investments in a very short time.” “The various efficiency gains” continued Mr Gamberale “show that the funds that directly manage their assets are the most adept at creating value from acquisitions. It is incredibly unlikely that an external asset management team would have been able to achieve the same result”.