FTSE listed solar energy fund swaps auditor

Guernsey-based NextEnergy Solar Fund Limited (NESF) has changed Big Four auditors after five years with a move to KPMG from PwC

The appointment of KPMG Channel Islands as auditor of the FTSE listed fund followed a competitive tender first announced earlier this year. The company decided to review its auditor at the five-year point after the company first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2014 and appointed PwC which had been in post for five years.

NESF chairman Kevin Lyon said: ‘As the Company has passed its fifth anniversary and in order to assess the competitiveness of the auditor, the audit committee intends to conduct a tender for the position of independent auditor to the company. The current independent auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers CI LLP, has indicated their willingness to be included in the tender process.’

The decision to review the company’s auditors was outlined in the 2019 Annual Report released in June. PwC earned £156,000 in audit fees for year end 2019. KPMG will take over the audit for year end 2020 and PwC has stepped down, although it was asked to pitch for the audit contract.

The audit committee chair is Patrick Firth, an independent non-executive director at NESF, who qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in 1991 and has extensive non executive directorships across investment funds.

NESF is a specialist investment company that invests primarily in operating solar power plants on agricultural, industrial and commercial sitesin the UK. It is able to invest up to 15% of its gross asset value in operating solar power plants in OECD countries outside the UK. The Company's objective is to secure attractive shareholder returns through RPI-linked dividends and long-term capital growth.

As at 30 August 2019, NESF had raised equity proceeds of £792m (including £200m of preference shares) since its initial public offering on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in April 2014. The company's subsidiaries had long-term fully amortising financial debt outstanding of £199m, on a look-through basis including project level debt.

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