STANLIB Infrastructure Fund II, the largest asset manager in South Africa and part of the Standard Bank Group, has acquired a 42% stake in the 258 MW Upington Solar Power project in South Africa from Norway’s Scatec for ($57 million). Along with Scatec, and other stakeholders in the project, Norfund has also sold off its 18% share to the Fund.

The Upington Solar Power Project comprises three solar projects and has been operational since April 2020. Scatec will continue to provide operations and maintenance (O&M) and asset management services to the solar project.

Scatec’s decision to divest from its assets in South Africa comes as the energy-starved country plans to speed up the implementation of renewables by auctioning up to 15 GW of capacity under the latest government program.

The transaction is expected to generate a net accounting gain of approximately NOK 760 million on a consolidated basis and NOK 310 million (~$30.80 million) on a proportionate basis.

“Today’s transaction is in line with our strategy to optimize our portfolio as presented at our Capital Markets Update in September 2022 and will release capital for new investments in renewable energy. We are very pleased to secure a value accretive transaction and are confident that STANLIB will be a solid asset owner going forward,” said Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog.

“We entered South Africa in 2010 and have since grown into a leading renewable energy player in the country. South Africa remains a focus market for us, and we will continue to build scale through new investments, including the Kenhardt project under construction and the new Grootfontein project secured in the fifth bidding round,” adds Pilskog.

Norfund is also selling its 18% equity share to STANLIB as part of the same transaction. The transaction is subject to the customary consents and is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

According to Mercom Annual and Q4 2022 Solar Funding and M&A report, large-scale project funding in 2022 came to $32.1 billion in 179 project funding deals, compared to $18.7 billion in 185 projects in 2021.