GAIL has entered exclusive discussions to buy a stake in privately owned solar power generator ACME Solar holdings, according to four people aware of the matter.
The state-owned company formerly known as Gas Authority of India is said to be carrying out due diligence on solar power plants owned by ACME Solar. It is yet to discuss financial terms with ACME’s shareholders, as per these sources.
“The discussions are at an early stage. The proposal has not been taken up by GAIL’s board”, an executive said. The state-run player could pick up anywhere between 49-74 per cent stake in ACME Solar holdings if discussions progress towards a deal, according to the sources.
“The talks are open-ended. The deal could involve an investment in the parent company and also separate investments in certain SPV’s that house individual projects”, another executive briefed on the matter said.
GAIL is the largest processor and distributor of natural gas in India.
The company is said to be exploring investments in the renewable energy space as part of a strategy for diversification of its businesses and to create a hedge against volatility in natural gas prices which are linked to crude oil.
Spokespersons for GAIL and ACME Solar declined comment when contacted. ACME Solar’s portfolio of 5.8 gigawatts places it amongst the largest standalone solar power generation companies in the country and could be worth over $1.6 billion, as per industry experts.
GAIL has a tie-up with state-owned BHEL for setting up renewable energy projects and also provides financial support to startups who are setting up businesses related to clean energy.