Spain’s Naturgy nears deal to buy U.S. solar firm Candela Renewables -sources

MADRID, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Naturgy is nearing a deal to buy U.S. solar firm Candela Renewables, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, marking the Spanish group’s first ever deal in the United States, one of the markets where it wants to focus its expansion strategy in the next five years.

The transaction is expected to be finalised this week, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.

Candela Renewables did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The deal will serve as a springboard to the U.S. market and set Naturgy on a path to investing about $1.8 billion in clean energy projects in the next five years, one of the sources said.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to bring about a “clean energy revolution”, shifting the world’s biggest economy to a much greater reliance on wind and solar power generation.

Candela Renewables, which is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2018 by former First Solar employees, is valued at $80 million-$100 million, one of the sources said.

It specialises in renewable energy generation and storage. Its team has brought more than 26 utility-scale projects online in the United States, according to its website, which names Apple and Microsoft among offtakers for those projects.

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Naturgy’s earnings have been crimped over the last year as the coronavirus pandemic sapped energy demand, weighing on gas prices already floundering due to oversupply.

The Barcelona-born firm has cut costs, moved out of several countries and declared its intention to focus on renewable power sources and electricity grids in countries with stable regulation and macroeconomic conditions. ($1 = 0.8226 euros) (Reporting by Isla Binnie Editing by Pamela Barbaglia and Elaine Hardcastle)

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