After a nearly year-long sale process, Ørsted subsidiary Lincoln Clean Energy has emerged as the winning bidder for Coronal Energy’s development business, leaving deal watchers pondering what will become of Coronal's operating assets, which were also for sale.
When auctioneers Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Scotia Capital opened the bidding for the solar developer last June (PFR, 11/20), they invited prospective buyers to consider acquiring the company in its entirety or in separate parts.
Ørsted and Lincoln apparently preferred the latter approach, swooping on Coronal's 1.3 GW solar and storage development pipeline, which includes at least 95 MW that is already contracted, and leaving a 250 MW operating portfolio still on the block.
“Wonder what happens to the operating assets,” says a deal watcher. “I would’ve assumed that part would be easiest to sell.”
The platform Lincoln is acquiring includes the business that used to be known as HelioSage Energy, which Coronal acquired in 2015, says a spokesperson for Ørsted in Copenhagen. Marathon Capital acted as HelioSage’s financial adviser on that deal.
At the time of its acquisition and rebranding as Coronal Development Services, HelioSage had a 1.5 GW development-stage pipeline, of which more than 300 MW was at the notice-to-proceed stage.
Besides the project pipeline, Lincoln will take on a team of solar and storage development personnel.
“This experienced team complements our U.S. development platform, greatly enhances our presence in solar and storage, and brings important new customer relationships through multiple long-term power purchase agreements both signed and in negotiation,” said Lincoln ceo Declan Flanagan, in a statement.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Jonathan Jaffrey, Coronal’s ceo and chairman based in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sellers include Panasonic, one of Coronal’s largest shareholders, which increased its stake in September 2016.
Still for sale?
The 250 MW operating portfolio that remains unspoken for is contracted under PPAs with a remaining average weighted life of 21 years.
Separately, Coronal recently hired boutique investment bank EOS Capital Advisors to sell its 15 MW Latitude Solar Center in Hardeman County, Tenn. (PFR, 2/25).
The Latitude project has a 20-year PPA awarded by Tennessee Valley Authority through its renewable standard offer program (PFR, 7/13).
Additional reporting by Richard Metcalf