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Turquoise International Ltd. plans to raise as much as 230 million pounds ($360 million) of debt and equity for four U.K.-based clean technology businesses by the end of the year.
Turquoise is working to raise funds for bio-ethanol maker Vireol Plc and RockTron International Ltd., which recycles fly- ash from coal-fired power stations. It’s also helping Onzo Ltd., a smart meter company, and Controlled Power Technologies Ltd., which designs carbon reduction products for vehicles, Managing Director Ian Thomas said in an interview in London.
The 27-nation European Union is sticking to clean-energy targets for member states, aiming for an average 20 percent share of energy from renewable sources across the bloc by 2020. Britain is aiming for a 15 percent share. Turquoise is a London corporate finance advisory company for the renewable energy and environmental industries.
In addition to its advisory service, Turquoise invests directly in clean energy companies through its Turquoise Capital LLP unit and the 12 million-pound Low Carbon Innovation Fund, said Thomas. Turquoise Capital already owns a 22 percent stake in Controlled Power Technologies.
Turquoise expects to close three or four deals for LCIF by year-end that could total 1.3 million pounds, Thomas said. The fund, also backed by the European Regional Development Fund, invests in businesses in eastern England and the deals it’s currently considering are all in technology orientated companies, he said.
“In terms of sector focus we haven’t been very active in wind and solar as those are the two sectors that have traditionally found it relatively easy to attract capital,” the director said. It’s near closing a deal for LCIF in an agricultural technology business that reduces the use of chemical herbicides, he said.
Turquoise is more active in emerging technologies that are becoming commercially proven, such as waste-to-energy, said Thomas. It’s also been involved in biofuels through Vireol, which is developing a wheat-to-ethanol plant in northeast England. Turquoise sees a “great opportunity” in European ethanol, he said.
“Europe is a very good place to produce wheat-based ethanol, especially from the U.K. which has a big feed wheat surplus,” said Thomas. “Europe is a major exporter of grain to the world and ethanol will never account for a very significant percentage of global grain volumes,” he said.
The European Union has a target to boost the share of biofuels in transport to 10 percent a year by 2020. The financial crisis has meant very few bioethanol plants have been built in the region over the past few years, said Thomas, so there is going to be a “significant” supply gap over the next five to seven years to meet the bloc’s mandate.
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