Harbert Australia Private Equity, an Australian private equity firm which focuses on the lower-middle-market, has made its first investment from its Harbert Australian Private Equity Fund I, with an 18.1 per cent equity interest in Solar Shop Australia. The transaction values the business at an enterprise value of AUS$50m.
Solar Shop is an installer of grid connect solar systems in Australia. The company’s core business is focused on the sale and installation of solar photovoltaic panels for domestic houses and off-grid stand alone power systems, solar hot water systems and associated products, including wind power. The company is Australia’s largest provider of grid connect solar systems in Australia having installed one in four of all solar PV systems on Australian homes in 2008, according to a statement from Harbert.
Jeremy Steele, managing director of Harbert Australia Private Equity, said, “With electricity prices forecast to increase by up to 8 per cent annually to 2012, and the diminishing price differential to consumers between fossil fuel and solar power, we expect this space to be a major growth industry in the coming years.”
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Solar Shop growth story and plan to invest additional capital to continue to support the growth of the business. Solar Shop has an exceptionally competent management team who have set up, managed and grown a very successful business. Solar Shop’s more diversified strategy gives it a distinct competitive advantage when the majority of the market is characterised by a large number of players competing on price to sell 1kW systems. We look forward to working with the management team to take this company forward to the next level – in terms of growth and its ability to capitalise on the exciting opportunities presented by the dynamic Australian solar energy market.”
Harbert has also held the first close of the fund which made the investment. The Harbert Australian Private Equity Fund closed with a commitment of AUS$40m from its sponsored affiliate and parent, Harbert Management Corporation. The fund is targeting AUS$100m in total and plans to raise from investors in Australia and offshore.
The fund will be focused on investment in Australian companies with an enterprise value from AUS$10m to AUS$100m. Geographically, the investment team will focus on investments within Victoria and South Australia.
Copyright © 2009 AltAssets