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Masdar targets acquisitions in US and Europe

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Masdar says the $430bn Inflation Reduction Act has 'reinforced' its view of the US market

Abu Dhabi state-owned renewable energy firm Masdar is in discussions with potential acquisition targets in the US and is also looking to expand in Europe, Gulf Arab countries and elsewhere, its chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

“We plan to grow significantly in the North America market, in the US,” Niall Hannigan said, adding it “is very much a market where merger and acquisition (M&A) is going to be absolutely critical.”

Masdar is in active discussions. US President Joe Biden’s $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act “reinforced” its view of the US market, he said.

Masdar is also looking to grow in Europe where its primary markets are southern Europe, the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hannigan said, adding it will continue to grow in the UK, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece, while the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia will also be “a huge area of growth”. Central Asia, Asia-Pacific and Africa are also areas for future growth, he said.

Masdar raised $750 million with debut green bonds on Tuesday, which will repay two $250 million bridge loans for a 200 megawatt (MW) solar PV project in Azerbaijan and 500 MW offshore wind project in Uzbekistan, Hannigan said. The remaining $250 million will go to three solar projects in Uzbekistan that will reach financial close soon.

“So we are already securing new capacities, so my expectation is that we are likely to come to market again in 2024,” he said, adding Masdar would only issue bonds for already-secured projects.

“While we are in emerging and developing economies, we are still tilted towards investment grade countries,” Hannigan said, adding he expected Masdar would still tilt towards investment-grade countries when it reaches its 2030 goal of 100 GW installed capacity.

In November, the UAE and US agreed to spend $100 billion on clean energy projects with a goal of adding 100 gigawatts globally by 2035.

Masdar is chaired by Sultan Al Jaber, who was its founding CEO. Jaber is also incoming president of the Cop28 climate summit, a pick that has drawn criticism because of his role as CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

Jaber last week said countries at Cop28 must face how far behind they are in meeting climate targets and agree a plan to get on track.