For international investors seeking a piece of India’s renewables boom – and the bankers who sit across the table with them – all roads go through the country’s domestic energy players, this is the message from Bank of America Corp.’s Gaurav Singhal, who leads the busiest team in India’s green energy M&A sector in the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The biggest of the deals saw the U.S. bank advising SoftBank Group Corp. on selling its renewables business in India to Adani Green Energy Ltd. at an enterprise value of $3.5 billion earlier this year.
Adani’s group was a late entrant in the SB Energy deal, though they were aware of it, Singhal said. “The group had many advantages, from being a local player to the fact that some of the SB Energy assets were next door to their own plants.”
The deal helped make India the most active market in the world for renewables M&A in the first six months of 2021 according to BloombergNEF, and Adani and his fellow billionaire, Mukesh Ambani, have unveiled ambitious plans in the sector.
Foreign buyers will undoubtedly continue to compete for assets; Singhal expects more than $150 billion in equity investment into the sector by 2030. Yet most strategic investors from overseas are seeking to back local entrepreneurs, he said.
Top green energy banker sees $150 billion in India deals by 2030
“Some of the issues of dealing with the federal government can be handled by only the local partners,” said Gaurav Singhal. “Foreign investors cannot take that call solo.”
Singhal will soon be making that pitch in person. Bank of America is moving its top renewable energy investment banker in India to New York, as it tries to grab a bigger share of what he estimates is the roughly $500 billion needed to meet the country’s green energy targets.
Singhal will start at the New York office next month, and will continue to oversee the bank’s renewable deals in India from there.