Foresight Solar Fund has announced its intention to raise funds via a new share placing in order to pay down its existing debt.

Just under 55 million ordinary shares are to be made available on a non-pre-emptive basis, with Stifel Nicolaus Europe tasked with the book-building process to determine the level of demand for the shares.

Placing shares will not be offered at a fixed price, rather would-be investors are to be invited to communicate their bids to Stifel Nicolaus, indicating the number of shares they are interested in subscribing to and the price or price range.

Placing commitments will be welcomed until 9 October 2019, and results are to be published the next day. Settlement and administration of new shares will be conducted on 14 October 2019.

Net placing proceeds will be used to “optimise” the firm’s capital structure, paying down debt within its revolving credit facilities used principally to acquire new assets.

Foresight currently has around £105 million of debt within its two RCF facilities, both of which are fully drawn down.

The fund said in reducing its gearing, it would have “additional financial flexibility” to pursue both primary and secondary investment opportunities. It pointed to not just subsidy-backed assets, but also a burgeoning opportunity in large-scale, subsidy-free solar in Spain, Portugal and the UK.

Foresight remains among the UK’s largest holders of built solar assets, but has remained cool on subsidy-free opportunities, stating earlier this that it was to keep both unsubsidised and co-located developments on ice in favour of a more opportunistic approach to acquisitions.  

An increasing number of funds and financiers are however opening up to subsidy-free solar. NextEnergy Solar Fund is expecting to complete construction on its maiden unsubsidised asset this quarter, while last month Bluefield said it was now pursuing merchant solar assets in the UK and a had a pipeline of assets it was actively chasing.