(Bloomberg) -- IFM Investors Pty is considering investing in Italian energy producer ERG SpA, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Australian infrastructure manager is discussing the purchase of a minority interest in ERG, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Shares of ERG have risen 14% in Milan trading this year, giving it a market value of about 4.9 billion euros ($5.1 billion).
IFM could invest indirectly in ERG by acquiring a stake in the holding company of its controlling investor, Italy’s Garrone family, some of the people said. The Garrones have been considering a sale of shares in San Quirico SpA, a vehicle that holds their majority stake in ERG, financial newspaper Milano Finanza reported in March.
Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty IFM will decide to proceed with a deal, according to the people. Representatives for IFM and ERG declined to comment, while a representative for San Quirico couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
ERG was founded by Edoardo Garrone in 1938 as a refinery in Genoa. It’s now focused on producing renewable energy from wind and solar. The company has operations across Europe -- including Italy, France and Germany -- and employs more than 800 staff.
Investors are keen to expand in renewables amid the global shift to greener power production and away from dependence on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Global spending on the transition to low-carbon energy rose by more than a quarter to $755 billion in 2021, according to BloombergNEF.
KKR & Co. on Tuesday said it would buy UK-based power-generation company ContourGlobal Plc, which has 138 thermal and renewable power plants across Europe, the Americas and Africa. The private equity firm swooped in on French solar company Albioma SA earlier this year and Australia’s Spark Infrastructure Group in late 2021.
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