Foresight Solar Fund Limited: Annual Results to 31 December 2016 and Dividend Announcement

Highlights

 

  • The underlying portfolio, which is fully operational and accredited, now totals 16 assets with an installed capacity of 348MW. The portfolio generated 319 Gigawatt Hours ("GWh”) of clean energy during 2016, sufficient to power approximately 97,000 UK homes. The total revenues earned across the portfolio amounted to £34.2 million.
  • The Company is on track to pay the target dividend of 6.17 pence per share for the year to 31 December 2016. Interim dividends of 1.54 pence per share were paid in June, September and December 2016 and a further interim dividend of 1.55 pence per share was approved by the Directors on 15 February 2017 and will be paid on 5 May 2017.
  • The Company aims to deliver a full year dividend for the year ending 31 December 2017 of 6.32 pence per share (6.00 inflated by RPI for 2014 - 2016). Since IPO, all target dividends have been achieved.
  • Driven by an improving outlook for the portfolio’s revenues and asset acquisitions, Net Asset Value ("NAV”) increased to £350.8 million over the year, taking the NAV per Ordinary Share to 102.9 pence, an increase of 3.9 pence since 31 December 2015. A substantial average size of over 21MW per solar installation means the portfolio benefits from efficiencies of scale particularly in terms of lower asset management costs and operating and maintenance charges.
  • Successful share placings took place in September and October 2016 raising total gross proceeds of £60.8 million from new and existing investors, bringing the total equity capital raised to £345.7 million.
  • Minority equity positions totalling 10MW were acquired in three existing portfolio assets - Southam, Paddock Wood and Atherstone. This is the first acquisition from a near-term pipeline of operational, fully accredited and income generating solar facilities with a total capacity of 132MW over which the Company is in advanced negotiations, and demonstrates the ability to quickly deploy investor funds into cash-generating assets.
  • A new £160 million long-term debt facility was put in place by the Company’s subsidiary in March 2016 at attractive terms, refinancing a £150 million short-term acquisition facility. A new, short-term revolving acquisition facility of £40 million was also agreed, providing the necessary flexibility to take advantage of future pipeline opportunities.
  • An improving outlook for power prices has led to a supportive market for further acquisitions. As the UK’s secondary market for solar assets matures, further opportunities have been identified and the Company will continue to selectively pursue these to expand the portfolio and support cash generation. Active negotiations are underway with 150MW of capacity, of which 50MW are expected to be acquired imminently.

Following Period End

  • In February the Company announced the acquisition of Shotwick, a solar park located in Flintshire. At 72MW peak capacity and 50MW AC export capacity, Shotwick is currently the largest operational solar asset in the UK. This increases the number of assets in the portfolio to 17 with a total installed capacity of 420MW. 

 

Dividend Timetable

Dividend Timetable Date
Ex-dividend Date 6 April 2017
Record Date 7 April 2017
Payment Date 5 May 2017

 

Key Metric

   As at 31 December 2016
 Market Capitalisation  £354.9 million
 Share Price  104.1 pence
 Total Dividend per Share for the Year  6.17 pence
 Gross Asset Value  £549.0 million
 Net Asset Value  £350.8 million
 NAV per Share  102.9 pence
 NAV Change per Share  3.9 pence
 Total Return (NAV)  7.04%*
 Total Shareholder Return  6.58%
 Equity Discount Rate  7.5%
 Profit after Tax  £30.7 million
 Number of Shares with Voting Rights  340,950,912

 * Annualised from IPO on 29 October 2013 and calculated in line with AIC methodology, which does not include dividends approved but not paid.

Commenting on today's results, Alex Ohlsson, Chairman of Foresight Solar Fund Limited said:

"Now in its fourth year, the Company has built a strong portfolio of 16 operating solar assets. During 2016, positive progress has been made by focusing on the consolidation and optimisation of the assets. The Company is now well-placed to take advantage of the expected recovery in UK wholesale power prices, which will support the continued delivery of attractive returns to Shareholders.

The Company has achieved all target dividends to date and is on track to deliver a 6.17 pence dividend for the year ended 31 December 2016.

In addition to the 72MW acquisition of Shotwick in February 2017, and an imminent investment in a 50MW asset, the Investment Manager continues to review a pipeline of c.100MW of assets available in the primary and the developing secondary market. Opportunities to expand the portfolio in line with Company’s investment objective will be pursued selectively.

The success of the Company’s share placings during the second half of 2016 evidences the appeal to investors of the stable income flows generated by the portfolio. Underpinned by the current low-interest rate environment, the Board expects to see positive ongoing demand for yielding infrastructure assets, such as those held by the Company.” 

A conference call for analysts will be held at 9:00am on Thursday 16 February 2017.

To register, please contact Shabnam Bashir at Citigate Dewe Rogerson by email Shabnam.Bashir@citigatedr.co.uk or by phone +44 (0) 20 7282 2822.

A presentation will be provided separately before the call.

A copy of the Report can be found here.

For further information, please contact:

 Foresight Group  
 Louise Chesworth LChesworth@ForesightGroup.eu +44 (0)20 3667 6932
   
 Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited  +44 (0)20 7710 7600
 Mark Bloomfield  
 Neil Winward  
 Tunga Chigovanyika  
   
 J.P. Morgan Cazenove  +44 (0)20 7742 4000
 William Simmonds  

Notes to Editors

About Foresight Solar Fund Limited ("The Company" or "FSFL")

FSFL is a Jersey-registered closed-end investment company. The Company invests in ground based UK solar power assets to achieve its objective of providing Shareholders with a sustainable and increasing dividend with the potential for capital growth over the long-term. Having raised £150 million at IPO in October 2013, FSFL has since raised a further £195.7 million from institutional investors and private investors.

About Foresight Group

Foresight is a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager which has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for more than 30 years.

Foresight has £2.3 billion of Assets Under Management across a number of funds, including Listed Vehicles, Limited Partnerships, Enter-prise Investment Schemes (EISs) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs).

As one of Europe’s leading solar infrastructure investment teams, Foresight funds currently manage more than £1.2 billion in over 75 oper-ating Photovoltaic ("PV”) plants in the UK, Australia and North America.

Foresight Group is headquartered in London, with international offices in Rome, San Francisco and Sydney and regional UK offices in Not-tingham, Manchester and Guernsey.

www.foresightgroup.eu