The merger between the two businesses allows ENGIE to bolster its position in the solar sector and makes it the market leader in France with a total gross installed capacity of 383 MW . This will also strengthen its global position, as Solairedirect is present in more than 15 countries, of which are already sites of ENGIE activities.
Announcing the acquisition, Gérard Mestrallet, ENGIE's Chairman and CEO, stated: "We are very proud to be able to announce our cooperation with Solairedirect, a French company with an international reach. This is a crucial step forward in the implementation of our solar strategy. ENGIE has been committed to renewable energies for several years now. We already lead the French wind power market, and this deal makes us the country's number 1 in solar power too. We intend to strengthen these positions around the world. By pooling the expertise of Solairedirect and ENGIE staff, we will be able to speed up our development in renewable energies, in line with our strategy to spearhead Europe's energy transition and become the benchmark energy supplier on high-growth markets."
Thierry Lepercq, CEO at Solairedirect, added: "I'm very pleased with this project to merge with ENGIE, which is a strategic leap forward, placing competitive solar power at the very heart of the plans to become a world leader in the energy sector. The merger will provide Solairedirect with the financial resources and critical size it requires to speed up growth. Our mutually complementary activities across the world, our entrepreneurial spirit and our ongoing drive for innovation will give us a unique opportunity to build together a competitive world leader on the solar market."
Since it was founded in 2006, Solairedirect has been a French pioneer of the competitive solar industry, active in the development, construction, operation, maintenance and investment in utility-scale parks on four continents. Its innovative business model is based on an industrial approach to solar power generation, combined with a focus on cost reduction.
Solairedirect developed 57 farms, generating a total capacity of 486 MW. It operates today a gross capacity of 224 MW in France, with the aim to develop a 125 MW capacity per year.
In France, ENGIE runs 22 ground-based photovoltaic facilities with total installed power of 158,5 MW (end of June 2015). For example, it operates the Curbans plant, located at an altitude of 1,000 meters in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region; this facility comprises 105,000 photovoltaic panels and produces enough electricity to meet the annual consumption needs of 10,500 households. ENGIE is leader in the French and Belgian wind power sector, number 1 in Europe for energy from biomass, and number 2 in France for hydropower. This latest deal positions the Group as France's leading player on the solar energy market.
Solairedirect was quick to build on its success in France by rolling out a selective international development strategy, favouring countries where the conditions are ripe for making solar energy competitive in comparison with other energy sources, including South Africa, India, Chile, the United States, Mexico and Thailand. The company has a portfolio of projects at the pre-construction phase amounting to more than 4.5 GW in the targeted regions, 434 MW of which are set to be built within the next 6 to 18 months.
ENGIE has installed solar capacity of 201 MW across the world. One key project is the construction of the 100 MW concentrated solar power plant at Kathu in South Africa, and there are other projects at different development stages in Chile totalling more than 600 MW.
ENGIE is a key player in renewable energy both within and beyond Europe. It has leadership positions for renewables with 19 GW of installed capacity, which is 17% of its overall energy-generating capacity, and a further 27 GW under construction or development abroad. In Europe, the Group intends to double its renewable electricity capacities between 2015 and 2025 to reach 16 GW.
ENGIE develops its businesses (power, natural gas, energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, security of supply and the rational use of resources. The Group provides individuals, cities and businesses with highly efficient and innovative solutions largely based on its expertise in four key sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and digital technology. ENGIE employs 152,900 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €74.7 billion in 2014. The Group is listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges (GSZ) and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe and Euronext Vigeo (World 120, Eurozone 120, Europe 120 and France 20).
Solairedirect is a pure play solar power company operating across four continents. The Company was founded in 2006 with the mission of making solar power more competitive than other energy sources. Solairedirect has developed a distinctive scalable business model as a pure play solar power company with the aim of creating value all along the value chain from development to construction, services and investment. For the financial year ended 31 March 2015, Solairedirect recorded consolidated revenue of €173 million and net income of €1.4 million.