July 10, 2018 / 3:13 PM / in 3 months

Oil major Eni pulls out of race for RTR solar assets in Italy

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian oil major Eni has pulled out of a race to buy Terra Firma’s solar power assets in Italy, a company spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Italian oil and gas group Eni is seen on the facade of its headquarters in Rome, Italy, December 23, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The British private equity firm is looking to sell its Rete Rinnovabile, known as RTR, solar portfolio in Italy in a deal expected to fetch more than 1 billion euros ($1.17 billion).

If successful, the transaction will be Italy’s largest solar energy sale in a fragmented industry that has come under pressure to consolidate to counter the withdrawal of generous state subsidies.

Eni was working on a joint bid with Qatar Petroleum for 130 plants for a total of 330 MW of solar energy put up for sale by Terra Firma.

The tender is now in the final stages of due diligence and binding offers should be submitted by Thursday, a source told Reuters, with Terra Firma aiming to close the deal by Aug. 5.

Italian utility A2A had also been among the potential buyers but pulled out in June.

The remaining contenders are fund Quercus, solar power developer Sonnedix and Italian utility Enel in partnership with infrastructure fund F2i.

The source added that Italian investment firm Tages was considering making an offer without Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Clean Tech Fund, with which it had initially partnered.

The source also said that China General Nuclear was also considering to make an offer.

Reporting by Giancarlo Navach; Writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Agnieszka Flak and David Goodman

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