BP Is Said to Weigh Bid for $1.8B Italian Solar Company

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc is considering a bid for one of Italy’s largest collection of solar assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Private equity company Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. will kick off the sale of Rete Rinnovabile Srl next month, the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Rete Rinnovabile, known at RTR, is valued at about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) by Terra Firma.

BP returned to the solar power market with a $200 million investment in British company Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd. last month, six years after it closed a unit that made panels. Oil companies are expanding their interests in renewables as they look for ways to make money in a world increasingly seeking cleaner forms of energy.

The sale is also attracting interest from companies from China to Abu Dhabi, the people said. Potential suitors for RTR, which operates 130 sites nationwide, include Enel SpA, Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. and German utilities EON SE and Innogy SE, people familiar with the matter said in November.

A spokesman for BP declined to comment on a potential bid.

Terra Firma initially acquired solar plants from Italian grid operator Terna Group in 2011 to form RTR. Since then, the company has grown through seven acquisitions, which have more than doubled its power output.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Albanese in Rome at calbanese10@bloomberg.net; Anna Hirtenstein in London at ahirtenstein@bloomberg.net; Kelly Gilblom in London at kgilblom@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net Rakteem Katakey, John Deane.


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