Refiner Eneos buys renewable energy in Japan for $ 1.8 billion

The logo of Eneos Holdings and Eneos Corporation is displayed at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan on August 20, 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

TOKYO, Oct.11 (Reuters) – Japan’s largest refiner, Eneos Holdings Inc (5020.T), said on Monday it would buy Japan Renewable Energy (JRE) for around 200 billion yen ($ 1.8 billion) ) in order to grow its low-carbon business, join a list of major global companies moving away from climate-modifying fossil fuels.

Eneos, which aims for net zero emissions by 2040, will buy JRE from Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

He said the deal, which marks the first major purchase of a renewable energy company by a major Japanese oil company, would help it meet its goal of having more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of energy. renewable in Japan and abroad by March 2023.

Japanese oil companies have ventured more into the renewable energy sector, as have foreign counterparts such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), especially after Tokyo pledged to cut more emissions earlier this year.

“As the world moves towards a low-carbon and circular society, this acquisition will mark a key turning point in fundamentally transforming our business structure,” Keitaro Inoue, senior vice president of Eneos, said at a press conference.

The price is “appropriate” given the size of JRE’s assets and its ability to develop a wide range of renewable energies, including solar, wind and biomass, Inoue said, adding that the deal also saves the company time to increase its portfolio of renewable assets.

Founded in 2012, JRE owns 708 MW of renewable energy assets, including those under construction on an equity basis. After the deal, Eneos’ renewable assets will reach 1,220 MW.

Given its relatively low capacity, JRE is unlikely to make an immediate contribution to typical Eneos annual sales of around 10,000 billion yen ($ 90 billion).

However, the deal signals Eneos’ intention to start phasing out fossil fuels. Japan is preparing to almost double its official targets for renewable energy supplies in the energy mix of the world’s third-largest economy.

Eneos controls half of the gasoline and other fuels market in Japan, but for many years has seen its customer base shrink due to a declining population.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Aaron Sheldrick and Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Bernadette Baum

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