UPDATE 1-Renewables firm PNE explores sale of U.S. unit over project costs - sources

·2 min read

(Adds details from company, Nomura, background)

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT, March 8 (Reuters) - Germany's PNE AG is exploring a sale of its U.S. solar and wind business due to high project costs, two people familiar with the matter said, adding that Washington's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) could help attract suitors.

The deal covers a near-term pipeline project covering more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of solar, wind and storage, with onshore wind accounting for nearly half of that, according to a teaser document sent to potential buyers and reviewed by Reuters.

PNE USA expects to add roughly half a gigawatt of solar, wind and storage capacity between 2023 and 2030, the document said, adding that it has a track record of developing 7.9 GW of projects.

Parent PNE aims fully to focus on its key European markets, which include Germany, the document said.

The process, which is being handled by Nomura Greentech, comes after Morgan Stanley, PNE's biggest shareholder, stopped talks with potential buyers for its 44.2% stake in January. PNE is currently worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

A PNE spokesperson confirmed that a sales process for its U.S. business had been initiated and that an advisor had been hired.

Nomura declined to comment.

The decision coincides with the implementation of the IRA, which is expected to provide a boost to the U.S. renewables market, the world's second-largest, and has already influenced strategic decisions by European energy heavyweights.

Late last year, Germany's top utility RWE unveiled a $6.8 billion bid for the clean energy division of Con Edison , citing a more favourable regulatory environment compared to Europe.

($1 = 0.9486 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Editing by Friederike Heine and Louise Heavens)