TIDMGRID

RNS Number : 8427X

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund

10 January 2022

10 January 2022

GRESHAM HOUSE ENERGY STORAGE FUND PLC

("GRID" or the "Company")

Trading Update

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC (LSE: GRID), the UK's largest fund investing in utility-scale battery energy storage systems, is pleased to provide shareholders with an update on trading for the full year to 31 December 2021 ahead of the publication of its audited annual results in April 2022.

2021 has been another transformational year for the Company. Key highlights include:

- Full year revenues of the asset portfolio comfortably ahead of modelled levels and EBITDA of the asset portfolio expected to be in excess of GBP40m, more than doubling FY2020 EBITDA (GBP15.6m [1] );

   -      Full dividend cover [2] for FY 2021 dividend target of 7.0 pence per share; 

- 415MW of battery energy storage systems ("BESS") under construction as at Q4 2021 (Q32021: 175MW);

- 280MW added to the exclusive pipeline during Q4 2021 for connection in 2023 and 2024, increasing the target portfolio, once operational, to over 1.5GW;

- Further growth in the Company's capital base in 2021 with GBP100m raised in equity funds and GBP180m of debt secured at an interest rate of SONIA + 300bp before hedging costs.

Looking ahead to 2022, as projects progressively commission through the year, GRID anticipates achieving the following ambitions:

- Full dividend cover for FY 2022 target of 7.0 pence per share, with cover continuing to improve progressively as new projects commission during the year;

- Net Asset Value ("NAV") growth towards the upper end of the target range of 8% to 15% ([3]) ;

- Continuing to be the leading owner of operational BESS in the UK and Ireland with a market share of c.25% to 30%.

These targets are underpinned by the deployment of existing cash and, incrementally, drawing of low cost debt into pipeline projects with Internal Rates of Return (IRRs) which are significantly above the Company's weighted average discount rate.

John Leggate CBE, Chair of Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC commented:

"The outlook remains very exciting for energy storage sector investments, particularly due to the recent Contract for Difference (CfD) auction launch announcement for renewable generation projects. The UK government's Department for Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) expects this will result in a further 12GW in contracts, primarily for offshore wind, far in excess of the 5.5GW achieved in the 2019 round. This substantial growth in renewables will lead to increased generation intermittency and therefore drive the need for significant additional energy storage capacity. GRID remains committed to taking the lead in providing this storage capability in the UK and Ireland."

Ben Guest Lead Fund Manager and Managing Director of Gresham House New Energy, added:

"We continue to work towards the commissioning of our extensive pipeline, as well as continuing to grow it. We are excited about the impact that achieving these milestones will have on the prospects for earnings growth and NAV progression in 2022."

Operational update

GRID has the potential to build the majority of its pipeline projects to at least 2-hour durations and has built several projects to 1.5 hours to date. The Manager expects that at least two projects, for delivery later in 2022 and 2023, will be built to 2 hour durations as the trading opportunity for 2-hour duration sites becomes at least as profitable as for shorter duration sites. This opportunity is becoming more compelling as the frequency response market (which only requires sub-1 hour projects) is now becoming saturated, as widely anticipated.

GRID continues to expect to acquire its upcoming pipeline at the lowest levels achieved to date. All-in costs are expected to be, on average, under GBP450k per MW for 1 hour projects and under GBP625k per MW for 2-hour projects.

The Manager has experienced some Covid-related supply chain challenges relating to the construction of its current pipeline. While this has no significant effect on the Company's budgets, some project timelines have been affected with target commissioning dates pushed back by up to a quarter, as indicated in the table below.

Target portfolio:

 
 Project                          Location              MW   Operational          Target Commissioning 
                                                              status               date 
 Current operational portfolio    UK                   425   Operational          Fully commissioned 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Enderby                          Leicester             50   In construction      Q1 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Coupar Angus                     Co. Perth             40   In construction      Q1 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Arbroath                         Co. Angus             35   In construction      Q1 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Stairfoot                        South Yorkshire       40   In construction      Q1 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 West Didsbury                    Manchester            50   In construction      Q2 2022** 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Melksham East & West             Swindon              100   In construction      Q3 2022** 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Penwortham                       Preston               50   In construction      H2 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Grendon                          Northampton          100   In construction***   H2 2022 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Project York (previously         York, N.              50                        H2 2022 
  project Y)                       Yorks. 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Project Elland (previously       West Yorkshire       150                        Q1 2023** 
  project E2) 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Project Bradford West            West Yorkshire        87                        Q1 2023** 
  (previously project B) 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Monet's Garden                   North Yorkshire       50                        Q2 2023** 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Lister Drive                     Merseyside            50                        Q2 2023** 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Project Bradford West            West Yorkshire       100                        2023 
  2* 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Project Monvalet*                Rep. of Ireland      180                        2024 
                                 -----------------  ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 Total (including operational 
  projects)                                          1,557 
                                                    ------  -------------------  --------------------- 
 

*New pipeline projects

**Target Commissioning date pushed back by up to a quarter

*** Only 50MW under construction at this time

Note: all figures contained in this announcement are unaudited.

For further information, please contact:

 
 Gresham House New Energy 
  Ben Guest                           +44 (0) 20 3837 6270 
 Jefferies International Limited 
  Stuart Klein                        +44 (0) 20 7029 8000 
  Gaudi Le Roux                       +44 (0) 20 7029 8000 
  Neil Winward                        +44 (0) 20 7029 8000 
 KL Communications                  gh@kl-communications.com 
  Charles Gorman                     +44 (0) 20 3995 6673 
  Will Sanderson 
  Millie Steyn 
 JTC (UK) Limited as Company        GHEnergyStorageCoSec@jtcgroup.com 
  Secretary                          +44 207 409 0181 
  Christopher Gibbons 
 

About the Company and the Manager:

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund plc seeks to provide investors with an attractive and sustainable dividend over the long term by investing in a diversified portfolio of utility-scale battery energy storage systems (known as BESS) located in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the Company seeks to provide investors with the prospect of capital growth through the re-investment of net cash generated in excess of the target dividend in accordance with the Company's investment policy.

The Company targets an unlevered Net Asset Value total return of 8% per annum, calculated net of the Company's costs and expenses. Once certain further asset management activities are completed and leverage is introduced to the Portfolio, the Company targets a levered Net Asset Value total return of 15% per annum, calculated net of the Company's costs and expenses.

Gresham House Asset Management is the FCA authorised operating business of Gresham House plc, a London Stock Exchange quoted specialist alternative asset manager. Gresham House is committed to operating responsibly and sustainably, taking the long view in delivering sustainable investment solutions.

www.greshamhouse.com

Definition of utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS)

Utility-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) are the enabling infrastructure that will support the continued growth of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, essential to the UK's stated target to reduce carbon emissions. They store excess energy generated by renewable energy sources and then release that stored energy back into the grid during peak hours when there is increased demand.

[1] GBP15.8m was reported in the Annual Report 2020 issued in April 2021. This was calculated pre-audit of the asset portfolio and the final EBITDA number post-audit was GBP15.6m. This will form the comparator in the Annual Report 2021 when issued.

[2] Dividend cover is calculated in accordance with the Alternative Performance Measures table in the 30 June 2021 Interim Report: this is based on underlying EBITDA from the asset portfolio and deducts ongoing costs in the Company

[3] Growth in NAV is driven by the realisation of additional value when pipeline projects are valued as construction projects initially and then as operational projects. It does not assume any reduction in the current weighted average cost of capital.

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