Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd acquired a Norwegian solar panel maker and an Indian manufacturer of renewable projects in a bid by the oil-to-retail conglomerate to increase its dominance in alternative energy.
Reliance, controlled by Asia’s richest man, has acquired solar panel maker REC Solar Holdings AS in a deal that gives the company an enterprise value of $771 million, it said in a filing on Sunday. Hours later Reliance said it has agreed to acquire 40% of billionaire Pallonji Mistry’s Sterling & Wilson Solar Ltd, valued at $372 million, in Mumbai on Friday.
The two acquisitions – REC Solar was purchased from China National Bluestar Group Company – will help Reliance New Energy Solar expand into green energy markets globally, including in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere in Asia. Mr Ambani’s push aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of quadrupling India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of this decade.
Mr Ambani pledged in June to spend $10 billion on alternative energy over three years. The new investment is aimed at moving the group towards cleaner fuels. Reliance derives about 60% of its annual revenue from its oil-related business. Saudi Aramco is also in talks to buy about 20% stake in Reliance’s refining and chemicals business.
According to the statement, REC manufactures solar grade polysilicon and solar panels and modules in Norway and Singapore, and has more than 1,300 employees globally. Reliance will use REC’s technology to manufacture metallic silicon and solar panels at its Gigafactory in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The annual capacity of the factory will increase from 4 GW to 10 GW.
Reliance said in a separate statement that Sterling & Wilson has a presence in 24 countries and has installed 11 gigawatts of solar power projects.
“This is in line with our strategy to invest in new and advanced technologies and operational capabilities, which aims to achieve Reliance’s goal of enabling 100 GW of clean and green energy by the end of this decade,” Ambani said in the statement. “