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Charging ahead: João Manso Neto, CEO of GreenVolt

The energy transition is centre stage for GreenVolt – Energias Renováveis, Portugal’s leading renewables company, focused primarily on power derived from forest biomass, as well as wind and solar energy opportunities. CEO João Manso Neto speaks with Acuris Capital Intelligence about growth, green bonds and decentralised power generation.

Interview by Nelson Rodrigues

Q. What is your operational outlook for 2022?

I cannot give you a detailed outlook for this year. What I can tell you—as was promised to the investors on our successful IPO last year—is that we will work to offer sustainable growth in the years ahead. We are working on a 40%-plus CAGR in terms of revenue and on a 40% CAGR regarding EBITDA and net profit.

Q. What risks do you see to this outlook?

We have a strong management team. We have the best people working with us, focused on finding the best investments for GreenVolt. That is reassuring to us.

We have a stable revenue stream from biomass, which allows us to hunt for the best opportunities in wind and solar projects. Biomass gives us the stability we need to develop our growth strategy in other renewable energy projects, working on the development side of these wind and solar parks. Let’s not forget our third pillar—decentralised generation—which is the greatest opportunity in front of us.

Q. How does your capital position support these ambitions?

We have a sound capital position. We have a resilient and well-balanced financial structure with low liquidity risk, and a strong cash position that is more than suited to support our future growth.

Our cash position of €259 million, which includes €205 million in medium- and long-term unsecured debt issued after the 2021 IPO, allows us to make all the disbursements scheduled until 2026.

On this subject, I’d like to stress our successful green bond of €100 million, which we issued in 2021 and attracted interest from a wide range of investors. It was a great sign of the appetite that investors have for debt raised for sustainable projects but also a clear sign that they trust us to deliver on our growth strategy. That’s a very interesting market and we will be monitoring it for additional financing needs.

Q. How is the debt issuance environment for your business and sector?

We are seeing bond yields go up, pushed by spiralling inflation powered by a strong rise in energy prices. Financing is getting costlier, but the appetite for debt issued to finance sustainable projects will keep the cost of these type of issuance, such as the green bond, cheaper by comparison. There is a lot of interest around this kind of debt and that appetite is not going away anytime soon, no matter what happens.

Q. What are your own M&A objectives for this year?

We don’t have a set target. We are always looking for M&A opportunities, as we have already demonstrated in recent months. In 2021, we made very import acquisitions, namely Tilbury Green Power, and other operations that allowed us to position GreenVolt as an expert in power generation from renewable sources.

We’ve already made important acquisitions this year, allowing us to accelerate our growth in the development of wind and solar projects. We bought 35% of MaxSolar in Germany, invested in a joint venture that gave us access to 243MW of a solar photovoltaic pipeline promoted by Infraventus, with a faster time to market.

Recently, we bought a 50% stake in Univergy Autoconsumo, guaranteeing the option to purchase the entire capital of this Spanish company, which focuses on the distributed generation of renewable energy solutions for businesses. Also in Spain, through Perfecta Energía, we’ve launched Perfecta Industrial, which has the same focus. In Portugal, we have a 70% stake in Profit Energy and just launched Energia Unida, which is working on energy communities.

Distributed generation of renewable energy is, in our view, the most important part of the much-needed energy transition. It’s the future, today.

A bit of background: Greenvolt – Energias Renováveis, based in Portugal, is involved in the renewable energy sector producing electric power sourced primarily from biomass—specifically forestry residues and wood waste from industrial processes. The company is also developing solar photovoltaic and wind projects in Portugal and elsewhere in Europe. João Manso Neto, CEO of Greenvolt – Energias Renováveis, has over 30 years of experience leading a range of companies, with a particular focus on the energy sector.