BNP Paribas calves clean energy unit

BNP Paribas has agreed to spin off its London-based Clean Energy Partners (CEP) unit, which is a major investor in European PV, onshore wind and biomass, and will be rebranded Glennmont Partners.

BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank, will continue to distribute the fund to its clients and invest in future projects, although all future commitments will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The entire CEP team will be transferred to the new entity, including chief executive Joost Bergsma.

The deal reflects the broader trend of big banks shedding non-core assets to free up capital in response to stiffer regulations being imposed on the financial industry.

Bergsma, however, says the move was motivated by a desire to operate with "enhanced corporate flexibility and independence”.

“And by becoming an independent company, our managers’ interests are even more aligned with those of our investors through long-term equity ownership,” he adds.

CEP raised an initial €437m ($582m) as part of its 2007 establishment, and has gone on to invest more than €1bn across a dozen major renewables projects, with France, Italy and the UK emerging as the favourite destinations, and PV accounting for the largest share of the overall capacity.

CEP’s investment portfolio includes the 48MW Serenissima PV array developed by SAG Solarstrom in Italy, using Trina and Yingli modules; 55MW of PV atop car park roofs at five Renault factories in France, also using Trina; and the 25MW RES-developed Gruig wind farm in Northern Ireland.