Renewables

BIG Shopping Centers buys 70 MW solar power project in North Macedonia

BIG Shopping Centers buys 70 MW solar power project in North Macedonia

Photo: BIG Shopping Centers

Published

August 16, 2022

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Published:

August 16, 2022

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Israel-based mall operator BIG Shopping Centers took over a photovoltaic project in North Macedonia valued at EUR 53 million. It plans to expand the two units to 105 MW from 70 MW. The company said it would continue to invest in renewables as an engine of growth and sustainability.

BIG Shopping Centers is advancing its energy development strategy with an acquisition of a solar project in North Macedonia valued at EUR 53 million.

“This is another strategic move in implementing the global development policy of our energy sector,” Chief Executive Officer Hay Galis said and added the group based in Herzelia, Israel, strives to become a significant player in the renewable energy sector. The transaction is in line with the company’s strategy, which defines the energy sector as a growth engine and leverage for diversifying investment avenues, matching the company’s sustainability values, he pointed out.

The mall operator is the owner of two wind power projects in Romania.

Project companies already obtained grid connection approvals

Hungarian subsidiary BIG Energia Holdings Kft, of which the company owns 100%, agreed to purchase 100% of the shares of two North Macedonian project companies that own rights in a solar project in advanced stages of development. They already received approval from the Energy and Water Services Regulatory Commission to connect the two solar farms in the Probishtip area to the grid.

BIG Shopping Centers is in advanced negotiations to purchase an additional 39,4 hectares of land adjacent to the solar power project, with the aim to install another 35 MW

The 70 MW project is planned to be built on 88,5 hectares. It is expected to produce 114 GWh per year, BIG Shopping Centers said. In addition, the company is in advanced negotiations to purchase an additional 39,4 hectares of land adjacent to the project. The aim is to install another 35 MW, thus increasing the project’s capacity to 105 MW.

The purchase of the project companies’ shares will be carried out in stages. It is subject to the completion of the main goals and several other conditions.

The subsidiary company will pay EUR 12.6 million for the takeover and development of the project until the construction permits are received, for the land and the winnings in the project, which will be paid according to the progress of the project’s development until the construction permits are obtained. Therefore, the estimated cost of the project including proceeds is EUR 53 million euros.

Gross earnings are estimated at EUR 7.2 million per year

Based on the expected capacity, the company estimates gross revenues from the sale of electricity at EUR 7.9 million for the first year of operation, after balancing payments to the electricity grid. The sum is based on a selling price of EUR 70 per net MWh for the duration of the project of minimum 25 years.

The company expects to receive the construction permit early next year for its Urleasca wind power plant in Romania

Therefore, total earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) from the project are projected at EUR 7.2 million per year. The agreement includes instructions regarding the activities of the project company during the interim period, as well as a commitment to repay the subsidiary company for any damages due to the violation of representations or obligations.

Also, the deal includes a commitment by the sellers to pledge the shares of the project company in favor of the subsidiary and to provide a personal guarantee that the controlling owners of the seller secure their obligations if the agreement is canceled under circumstances that give the subsidiary the right to receive the refund of the payments that will be paid by the set date.

Sixteen-month deadline to obtain construction permits

The completion of the deal is subject to several conditions, including the North Macedonian Commission for Protection of Competition’s approval, the receipt of a construction permit for 70 MW and the assumption that there would be no significant adverse change in the performance of the project. The deadline for obtaining a building permit is 16 months from the date of signing the agreement.

BIG Shopping Centers expects to receive the construction permit for its 102 MW Urleasca wind power plant in Romania in the first quarter of 2023. The project got the approval to connect to the grid, the company revealed. Also, it reached the first milestone in its Vacarni wind farm project, and the subsidiary received the necessary approvals from the Romanian government for the investment.

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