Duke Energy Corp. kicked off a sale process for its commercial renewable-energy business in what would be one of the U.S.’s biggest clean-power deals ever.
The unit has a book value of $3 billion, CFO Brian Savoy said in an interview. Duke is aiming to close the sale in the second quarter of 2023.
“The last couple of months we talked to a lot of interested parties,” Savoy said, adding that he expected the sale to progress “at a rapid clip.”
Previously Duke said the assets its was selling had a book value of $4 billion. But that included $1 billion in tax assets, which are not part of the sale, Savoy said.
Analysts have cheered a potential sale as a good way for Duke to focus on its regulated utilities, which investors often reward with higher price-to-earnings ratio. “We expect the proceeds to be put toward debt paydown to strengthen the balance sheet and extend the period of not needing to issue equity beyond 2026,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in an Oct. 5 note.
Duke said in its earnings release that its lower third-quarter results came in part because it placed fewer commercial renewable projects into service. The slowdown came because a complicated trade dispute slowed Duke’s ability to import solar panels, Savoy said.
The utility giant posted operating revenue for the fiscal third quarter of $7.97 billion, beating a consensus estimate of $7.31 billion. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter was $1.78, slightly falling short of analysts’ projection of $1.84.
The spinoff comes as Duke builds more clean power generation within its regulated business.