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Abengoa sells Shams 1 CSP stake to Masdar

Spanish renewables and engineering group Abengoa SA has sold its 20% stake in the 100-MW Shams 1 concentrating solar power (CSP) station in the UAE to Masdar

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Abengoa is offloading its 20% stake in the Shams 1 CSP farm amid liquidity constraints
Abengoa is offloading its 20% stake in the Shams 1 CSP farm amid liquidity constraints

Spanish renewables and engineering group Abengoa SA has sold its 20% stake in the 100-MW Shams 1 concentrating solar power (CSP) station in the UAE to Masdar.

The struggling group is seeking to raise $335mn of liquidity to satisfy circling creditors.

The move reflects the pre-insolvency proceedings initiated by the company in November as part of an $112mn programme involving the disposal of non-strategic assets.

Developed over the past three years with the assistance of French energy giant Total and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, the Shams 1 plant was the largest CSP solar farm in the world when it opened in 2013.

Abengoa, which recently sold its former offices in Madrid and is currently negotiating other potential disposals, is seeking effective ways to pay its operating costs, which include wages of its 24,000 employees.

Abengoa’s own creditor bank disputes the amounts sought by investors, who have urged Abengoa to raise half the required $335 million via asset sales.

“Income from the sale of assets will be used to cover expenses of the company in order to face the negotiation process under Article 5 bis of the Spanish Insolvency Law,” said Abengoa’s chairman Jose Domínguez Abascal.

The Shams 1 is CSP plant in Abu Dhabi uses the parabolic trough technology.

Abengoa’s ongoing debt troubles have been viewed in some quarters as a reflection of the viability of the CSP sector, with costs for this type of solar energy typically much higher than costs for solar PV.

The recently opened Noor 1 CSP plant in Morocco produces energy for around $6 per watt, whereas a typical utility-scale solar PV plant can produce solar energy for under $2 per watt.

Following the stake sale by Abengoa, renewables firm Masdar now has an 80% stake in the facility, while France’s Total SA owns the rest of the shares.

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