French renewables developer Voltalia has confirmed it is in exclusive, advanced-stage negotiations to acquire Martifer Solar.

The purchase, valued at around €9 million (£6.9 million), would see Voltalia take on Martifer’s development, construction and O&M business with Voltalia particularly attracted to its solar division.

The deal is to be paid for entirely through Voltalia’s existing cash assets but is subject to Martifer disposing of its US-focused assets.

Voltalia expects to close the deal in Q3 2016.

In a statement issued yesterday, Voltalia said that Martifer’s move into O&M made its business model “complementary” to Voltalia’s core business and would speed up its “diversification of both its international footprint and its energy mix”.

About Martifer

Martifer has been a significant player in the UK’s large-scale solar market, developing a large number of ground-mount solar farms under the Renewables Obligation scheme. The company came 13th in Solar Power Portal’s Top 20 EPC countdown last month, as Finlay Colville wrote:

“Martifer Solar is now a global brand. Based out of Portugal, the company’s focus covers not just EPC work, but related development, asset ownership and O&M. Martifer’s presence in the UK began at the start of 2013, during the 2ROCs boom phase of large solar farm build-out.

The company’s role in UK solar farms has been a combination of pure-play EPC, and dual site developer and EPC work. Martifer shifted quickly to the upstream space with in-house developed sites coming online at the start of 2014.

In the past 12 months, UK-based efforts have been more heavily weighted to acquiring shovel-ready sites, building them and then flipping them to an institutional investor’s portfolio.

With strong business in overseas markets, including emerging solar regions, Martifer has no shortage of target countries to focus on going forward. But with a strong credibility in O&M, and prioritised as a key company activity, it is likely Martifer will continue to be present in the UK up to and beyond the ROC expiry point.”

Voltalia said the resulting group of companies would “immediately benefit from economies of scale”, adding that the company had already pinpointed several areas in which the two parties would be able to combine. One noted area is O&M services for onshore wind power plants as well as solar, of which the UK has a significant pipeline.

“Once merged, our two companies form an international group integrated throughout the renewable energy value chain with a double positioning as renewable power producer and as service provider for third-party clients,” Sébastien Clerc, chief executive at Voltalia, said.