Foresight Solar Fund — Optimising capital allocation

Foresight Solar Fund (LSE: FSFL)

Last close As at 19/04/2024

GBP0.82

0.40 (0.49%)

Market capitalisation

472m

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Research: Investment Companies

Foresight Solar Fund — Optimising capital allocation

Foresight Solar Fund (FSFL) celebrated its 10-year anniversary of listing on the London Stock Exchange with decade-high cash distributions from assets of £120.4m in its FY23 results (year end 31 December). FY23 also saw FSFL’s divestment programme come to fruition with the sale of a 50% stake in its Spanish Lorca portfolio at a 21% premium to its holding value. The proceeds of this divestment, along with free cash, were used to pay down the fund’s variable rate debt via its revolving credit facility by £40m and to continue to deliver on the share buyback programme, with half of the £40m being deployed in 2023. FSFL released guidance of a 6% y-o-y increase in its dividend (33% dividend growth since IPO) for FY24 at 8p/share (FY23: 7.55p/share) with dividend cover of 1.5x (FY23: 1.6x). There is significant headroom in the dividend cover to operate further out, even in a falling power price environment.

Written by

Harry Kilby

Analyst

Investment Companies

Foresight Solar Fund

Optimising capital allocation

Investment trusts
Renewable energy infrastructure

14 March 2024

Price

90.9p

Market cap

£529m

NAV*

£697.7m

NAV/share*

118.4p

*As at 31 December 2023

Discount to NAV**

23.2%

**Including income. At 12 March 2024.

Yield

8.3%

Shares in issue

589m

Code/ISIN

FSFL/JE00BD3QJR55

Primary exchange

LSE

AIC sector

Renewable Energy Infrastructure

52-week high/low

113.8p

84.0p

126.5p

95.6p

**Including income.

Total gearing***

38.8%

***At 31 December 2023 (total long-term debt/GAV).

Fund objective

Foresight Solar Fund’s (FSFL’s) investment objective is to provide investors with a sustainable and progressive quarterly dividend underpinned by investments in a geographically diverse portfolio of assets. FSFL aims to preserve and, where possible, enhance capital value. It acquires large-scale solar power plants, identifying solar opportunities in the UK and overseas markets (to 25% of gross asset value). FSFL can also invest in battery energy storage systems (BSS) up to a limit of 10% of gross asset value (GAV) and in solar or BSS assets in development stage up to 5% of GAV.

Analysts

Harry Kilby

+44 (0)20 3681 5700

Andrew Keen

+44 (0)20 3077 5724

Foresight Solar Fund is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Foresight Solar Fund (FSFL) celebrated its 10-year anniversary of listing on the London Stock Exchange with decade-high cash distributions from assets of £120.4m in its FY23 results (year end 31 December). FY23 also saw FSFL’s divestment programme come to fruition with the sale of a 50% stake in its Spanish Lorca portfolio at a 21% premium to its holding value. The proceeds of this divestment, along with free cash, were used to pay down the fund’s variable rate debt via its revolving credit facility by £40m and to continue to deliver on the share buyback programme, with half of the £40m being deployed in 2023. FSFL released guidance of a 6% y-o-y increase in its dividend (33% dividend growth since IPO) for FY24 at 8p/share (FY23: 7.55p/share) with dividend cover of 1.5x (FY23: 1.6x). There is significant headroom in the dividend cover to operate further out, even in a falling power price environment.

FSFL generated a record amount (more than 1TWh) of renewable energy in FY23. However, this was 1.9% below budget due primarily to its Australian portfolio production, which was 9% below expectations because of unexpectedly high economic curtailment. Its Spanish portfolio was marginally (1.5%) below budget due to lower-than-expected irradiation, while its UK portfolio was 0.7% over budget for the year due to higher-than-expected irradiation in the UK.

2023 saw the start of FSFL’s buildout of a proprietary development pipeline that highlights the fund’s focus on total returns, a reliable yield and long-term NAV growth. The first investment in this pipeline was the acquisition of the rights to a 467MWp portfolio of development-stage solar projects in Spain. The first project is expected to reach the ready to build (RTB) stage in late 2024. Early-stage development can bring relatively high returns for de-risking early-stage assets with limited initial capital. FSFL is targeting 2–3GW across different geographies to provide a steady stream of RTB assets, with a significant number of these projects intended to be divested at higher multiples, potentially delivering gains and releasing cash for investments in new opportunities.

The sale of several large Renewables Obligation Certificate-backed solar portfolios in the UK provides a reliable benchmark for FSFL’s assets and what look like conservative management valuations. The latest sale of a UK solar asset indicates a value per megawatt roughly 15% above the valuation FSFL uses on its UK portfolio of £1.17m/MWh. This comes alongside the sale of two other UK solar portfolios in 2023, both at greater valuations than FSFL’s valuation per megawatt hour. We determine that there is a noticeable contrast between these private market transaction values, at premiums to holding values, compared to the market valuation of FSFL (23% discount to NAV). FSFL’s FY24 dividend target represents an 8.8% yield at the current share price with management forecasting 1.5x coverage.

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Foresight Solar Fund and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Foresight Solar Fund. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Foresight Solar Fund and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Foresight Solar Fund. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2024 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

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