May 29, 2019 / 7:17 PM / 4 months ago

Brookfield closes in on 50% of Spain's X-Elio in $585 million solar deal: sources

MADRID (Reuters) - Canadian asset manager Brookfield is close to sealing a deal with U.S. infrastructure fund KKR and Spain’s Ribera family to buy a 50% stake in solar group X-Elio, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

The transaction values the whole company, which builds and operates photovoltaic plants in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia, at around 1.05 billion euros ($1.17 billion) including debt, two of the sources said.

Brookfield plans to buy a 20% stake in the company from the Riberas family, an industrial dynasty from northern Spain that founded car parts maker Gestamp.

It also plans to acquire a further 30% stake in the company from KKR, which bought 80% of X-Elio from the family in 2015. KKR will continue to hold the remaining 50% of X-Elio.

Brookfield, KKR and X-Elio declined to comment. A spokesman for the Ribera family did not respond to a request for comment.

Slumping installation costs and widespread political support have stoked investor interest in solar power, even as governments start cutting the once-rich pickings to be found through building subsidized plants.

Most of X-Elio’s more than 78 solar plants and almost half its staff are located outside Spain.

The International Energy Agency has called for more investment globally in low-carbon energy, which was stable last year at about $620 billion.

In Spain, the acting government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has outlined ambitious plans to boost renewable generation, including a five-fold increase in solar photovoltaic generation by 2030.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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