Renewable energies are the true Spanish magnet. Not only do they attract funds and investors from around the world, but it has also caused many banks, with no activity or tradition in Spain, to struggle to start financing the numerous projects and operations that take place in Spain.
Among this list of banks are Cantor Fiztgerald, North LB, BayernLB, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Investec or Kommunalkredit Austria.
The latest investors to land in the Spanish renewable sector come from very diverse geographies. For example, Canadian CDPQ recently acquired a portfolio from Q Energy. Aimco, of the same nationality, took over Eolia and Cubico has been the winner of a disputed auction for T Solar.
Hand in hand with these Canadian pension funds, the country’s bank CIBC also tries to enter the financing and advisory side. In Europe, the French fund Ardian and the Italian F2i shared the assets of Renovalia.
But the biggest appetite for renewables is currently represented by Chinese investors. China Three Gorges, which has already tried to take over EDP, bought a bundle of solar assets from X-Elio. And it has participated in bids such as Fotowatio, T Solar and recently Helia Renovables, the Bankinter platform and Plenium Partners. The Shanghai power company and SPIC, both owned by the Chinese Government, also participate in this process.
This interest in entering the renewable business in Spain is not limited only to equity. Debt operations in the sector are also attractive to banks and investors. Some examples have been the latest refinancing in the sector.
I Squared refinanced 570 million of T Solar’s debt in an operation that Banco Santander and Deutsche Bank piloted, with the issuance of a 268 million bond. A few months ago Eolia carried out a similar operation with Santander and Sabadell. It refinanced 1,000 million, of which it issued 500 million in bonds.
These operations have been piloted by Spanish banks. Santander, for example, has specialized in Spanish renewables. He has coordinated the recent Soltec IPO and aims to do the same with Acciona’s green subsidiary. Also Citi has played a predominant role as head of sales as 50% of X-Elio to Brookfield and carries out the sale of Helia. And Bank of America is in charge of launching Gransolar for 1,000 million.
Behind these front-line banks in the Spanish market, another handful are fighting for their piece of the pie. Among them is a group of international banks, unknown in Spain, but which have also seen the possibilities of green energy. They are considered both as entering the syndicated loans of large operations and providing solutions to carry out specific projects.
One of them is the American Cantor Fitzgerald. He specializes in renewable energy and infrastructure. It operates in Spain through its London office, with a team led by Carlos Candil for the energy area and Tomás Gómez for infrastructure. It has already operated in Spain in recent years, when it has worked in operations such as Eolia, Bizkaia or Vertex and has advised Asterion Industrial Partners on its entry into the United Kingdom.
“Renewable financing in Spain has reached a turning point with the replacement of traditional project financing with more innovative structures, carried out by international banks. Cantor Fitzergald has been one of the new leading investment banks in innovative solutions ”, they point out from this investment bank.
“Since the creation of our Power, Energy and Infrastructure area in 2018, Cantor sees M&A as a force in the Spanish market. It has recognized the growing importance of Spain in the energy transition in Europe and plans to grow in the Spanish market over the next 12 to 18 months, depending on growth and consolidation in Spain, ”said Cantor Fitzergald.
In the same way as this American entity, there are also other new players who already know the Spanish market. This is the case of Investec, from the Bonomi family. This Italian entity has accompanied the private equity of this family, Investindustrial, in many of its operations in Spain, such as the recent takeover by Natra.
It is the German banks that have recognized the most value in Spanish renewables. Among those who have aroused the most appetite have been Noth LB and Bayern LB. The first is based in Hannover and is precisely specialized in financing energy.
The second is located in Munich and has already participated in some operations in Spain, financing Solaria. This is the same case as that of the Austrian Kommunalkredit Austria, which has worked on financing hydrogen plants.