* European PV market set for M&A breakthrough
* Q1 power, renewables deals value fell 70 pct year on year
* Every third global power deal struck in Europe
LONDON, May 7 Europe's solar power market is
expected to drive a rebound in activity in the region's
renewable energy mergers and acquisitions (M&A) sector in the
second quarter, consultancy PwC said in a report on Monday.
A steep drop in module prices is expected to accelerate
demand, making the sector an attractive long-term investment
opportunity set to revive power market M&A after a weak start to
the year, PwC said.
Foreign buyers have already started snatching up distressed
European solar manufacturers, such as Germany's Solon
and Swiss Oerlikon.
"Looking ahead, solar PV looks set to breakthrough and
feature more prominently in renewables deal flow," PwC said in
its quarterly report about European power and renewables deals.
Deal value in Europe's overall sector fell 70 percent year
on year in the first quarter to $5.4 billion, reflecting
uncertainty about the eurozone debt crisis and difficulties for
dealmakers to secure financing.
But globally, every third deal in the sector was made in
Europe, with 68 agreements struck in the area, compared with 95
seen at the same time last year.
In the traditional power sector, government asset
privatisation in Ireland, Greece and Spain will provide further
opportunities for M&A deals in the electricity market.
Ireland's sale of selected Bord Gais and ESB
assets and Greece's privatisation of gas company DEPA
and gas grid operator DESFA are some of the highlights in
Europe's power M&A pipeline this quarter, PwC said.
Looking at the investor side, insurers, infrastructure funds
and other financial investment entities are emerging as bidders
for European power assets.
Notably, the sale of E.ON's gas transmission
network, which is expected to lure bids of up to $3.3 bln, has
attracted a number of insurers in various consortiums.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps)