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Wednesday, 19 October 2022

Wafra acquires majority stake in Mission Clean Energy as GCC investment spree in western green assets gains steam

GCC-focused alternative asset manager Wafra acquired a majority stake in US utility-scale renewable asset developer Mission Clean Energy, the latter said in a statement on Monday. Neither party has announced the size of the stake Wafra took or now much it paid.

What will Mission do with the investment? The Virginia-based company will use Wafra’s investment to expand its 3 GW project development pipeline focusing on solar and storage in the US. Mission is also expecting investments from Aggregate Power Infrastructure (API) — an affiliate of sustainability sector financial advisor Cohn Reznick Capital.

What exactly is Wafra? They’re the GCC’s go to green asset managers in the US: Founded in 1985 as Wafra Investment Group Advisory, the firm has been managing sovereign GCC institutions’ investments, including Kuwait Investment Authority, according to its website. It currently has about USD 33 bn assets under management (AUM), spanning across real estate, liquid markets, private equity and venture capital.

What’s Mission Clean Energy: Established earlier this year, the company develops solar projects in the US. Its services include land acquisition, permit issuances, construction, long-term operations and maintenance. It also builds energy storage facilities.

From the US to Europe, GCC investing in western green assets has become a trend:

  • Kuwait’s Agility Ventures — along with US VC firm Fifth Wallpoured USD 40 mn in US-based EV charging station company Loop Global.
  • Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s subsidiary FRV is investing in German solar-as-a-service provider Ecoligo.
  • Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) led a EUR 250 mn series D investment round for Paris-based biotech company Innovafeed.
  • QIA also made a landmark EUR 2.4 bn acquisition in major German utilities provider RWE in a debt-to-equity swap that will eventually see QIA own 9.09% of the company.

ADVISORS- Latham and Watkins served as legal advisor to Wafra and API. Farella Braun and Martel LLP served as legal advisor to Mission.

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