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MENASOL 2013: VMCap participates in discussion on the potential for Saudi CSP industry and the positive business development of portfolio company, Rioglass Solar

10 June 2013

  • VMCap panel on "Solar Power Financing in the Middle East" at leading solar conference MENASOL in Dubai
  • Excellent prospects of success for CSP in Saudi Arabia
  • Record sales of leading manufacturer of solar reflectors and VMCap portfolio company Rioglass Solar highlight market potential

Christian Sarwa, Investment Director at Vorndran Mannheims Capital ("VMCap") and responsible for the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) sector, spoke about solar energy investment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa at MENASOL, the leading solar event in the region. The investment workshop "Solar Power Financing in the Middle East" took place on 15 May, 2013, and was made up of representatives from VMCap, Abengoa Solar, KfW IPEX Bank and Chadbourne & Parke. This was a unique opportunity for expert discussion on the current developments, financial challenges and prospects for solar energy investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz' recent plan to take advantage of Saudi Arabia's outstanding solar irradiation and attain 25 GW before 2032 underscores the investment potential of CSP in the region. "The size of the market is even large enough to establish an independent local CSP industry", said Christian Sarwa. "Reliable framework conditions set by the Government, annual installations of more than 200 MW and cooperation with experienced project developers and component suppliers are prerequisites for the success of the country's CSP ambitions. Our portfolio company, Rioglass Solar, would be well positioned to repeat its successful expansion in the U.S. and South Africa with a local partner in Saudi Arabia."

Rioglass Solar Holding S.A. (Rioglass Solar) is a leading global manufacturer of solar reflectors for use in CSP plants. Rioglass Solar has developed proprietary technology to manufacture highly efficient mirrors for all types of CSP technology. The company's R&D activities focus on continued enhancement of the mirrors' performance and efficiency in order to make Rioglass Solar technology even more competitive and economically viable.

Rioglass Solar has shown a positive business performance with new record sales in 2012 and builds on a sound financial basis. The company has been able to attract new customers by means of newly developed mirrors for dish stirling systems as well as for low concentration photovoltaic modules. It has also extended its product range by developing an innovative structure mirror for CSP tower applications. A new production facility for the manufacture of these structure mirrors has been built in the record time of six months in Upington, South Africa. The plant, with around 60 employees, started operations at the end of May 2013.

"The challenging market situation for CSP projects at present will intensify further in 2013 which will lead to a consolidation of components suppliers", predicts Christian Sarwa. "Rioglass Solar will continue to excel in this competitive environment through more innovative and highly efficient mirror solutions for the entire CSP and concentrated photovoltaic industry".

About Vorndran Mannheims Capital

Vorndran Mannheims Capital, founded in 2000 under the name Ventizz Capital Partners, has offices in St. Gallen, Zurich, Dusseldorf and Vienna. VMCap is the exclusive advisor to the Ventizz Private Equity Funds, which provide growth capital and buyout financing for high tech companies in Western Europe. Five partners and a team of 14 additional professionals currently advise four funds with a total capital under management of EUR 675m. Ventizz Capital Fund IV L.P. is the largest of the four funds established so far. The Fund was closed at the end of 2007 after only six months of fundraising, during which EUR 450m were raised, making it one of the biggest private equity funds in the segment of growth capital and mid-size tech buyouts in the German-speaking region.

VMCap Funds have invested in 47 companies to date, with a focus on the areas of high-tech manufacturing industries, renewable energy/clean tech, and information and communication technology. In addition to a variety of trade sales, VMCap has so far floated four portfolio companies (ersol, SAF, PV Crystalox Solar and recently exceet) on European stock exchange markets.

About Rioglass Solar

Rioglass Solar Holding S.A. (Rioglass Solar) is a leading manufacturer of solar reflectors for use in CSP plants. Founded in 2007, Rioglass Solar has developed proprietary technology to manufacture highly efficient mirrors for all types of CSP technology. With over 240 employees and production facilities in Asturias (Spain), Arizona (USA) and Upington (South Africa), the company is well positioned to supply the global market in solar thermal plants. Unlike other renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic or wind, CSP has the distinct advantage of being able to store thermal energy. The need for base-load capable, utility scale renewable energy sources will drive the growth of the CSP market expected in the coming years. In 2011, Vorndran Mannheims Capital invested together with Partners Group into the company to support the product and geographic expansion of the company.

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