Q&A: Maurizio Grassi, Chief Growth Officer (CGO), Sonnedix
Published 26th July 2021
By Sarah Casey, Portfolio Director, Climate Council
Q. What does the Growth function in Sonnedix cover?
The Growth function at Sonnedix focuses on identifying new opportunities to grow our platform and bring value to our stakeholders. These include both development projects and acquisition of operating assets and platforms, directly and through partners
Q. Can you tell us some more about the ‘special transactions’ the team cover? What are the key aspects, challenges and opportunities?
This is a definition we use to indicate opportunities that present one of the following features: considerable size, multi-technology, multi jurisdictions, teams. These are complex transactions, with a structured and very competitive process. The required process time and the dimension of these ‘special transitions’ make those deals expensive both in terms of internal and external resources and that’s what makes them different.
Q. Do you see this staying the same in the coming year or are there any new regions you have your eye on?
New jurisdictions are joining the club, and activity is expected to grow due to the new authorised plants connecting to the grid.
Q. What’s been the effect of the end of FiTs in parts of Europe? How will this play out in terms of transaction types in 2022?
The end of the FiTs a while ago stopped the construction of new plants in the short term. However, some countries and developers worked to generate a second flow of plants with PPAs or merchant. PPAs are both the cause and effect of this new wave of plants we’re currently seeing.
Q. What trends do you foresee in M&A globally for 2022?
Fierce competition and reduction of margins for the players.
Q. In December 2020 Sonnedix finalised the acquisition of a 55.6-MW solar power plant in Japan. What advice would you give to other IPPs looking to enter the region?
Japan is a mature market and Sonnedix has been working there for more than 5 years. During this time, we have built strong relationships with local partners and have greatly improved our knowledge and understanding of the Japanese market and local nuances. To enter the market today, it is extremely important to have partners and local structure so my advice would be to build these up and understand that it will take time to enter the region and be successful.
Q. From your perspective, what is a bankable project? What are the key things you look out for?
A bankable project is an opportunity with a clear legal framework, a strong sponsor (even better if they have strong technical knowledge) and with a good certainty of cash flows.