Japanese back Azuri $26m raise for fresh solar power play
Cambridge UK solar technology business Azuri Technologies has secured a strategic $26 million investment to accelerate its market growth plans in both East and West Africa and open up new opportunities for the business.
The round is led by Japanese-owned Fortune Global 500 company Marubeni Corporation with additional participation from existing shareholders including FTSE 250 company IP Group plc.
Azuri is a leading provider of pay-as-you-go solar home solutions to off-grid households across Africa. Its systems enable households without access to the grid to benefit from modern conveniences, from electric light to satellite TV and Internet access via smartphones.
Marubeni has global interests in energy and substantial experience in Africa. The capital infusion will enable Azuri to accelerate expansion in existing sub-Saharan Africa markets and roll-out its solar lighting, TV and additional services into new markets, with a focus on enhancing the lives of millions living without access to the grid.
Azuri CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “We are delighted today to announce the equity investment by Marubeni Corporation and existing shareholders.
The entry of a leading player in the international energy market into this sector demonstrates the increasing maturity of off-grid power and its role in serving the 600 million people in Africa that still lack access to electricity.”
Yoshiaki Yokota, chief operating officer, Power Business Division at Marubeni Corporation, added: “We believe that Azuri's unique business model will have a profound impact on the growing off-grid energy market in Africa.
“The global energy market is evolving rapidly, with the introduction of new renewable technologies and energy-efficient devices. We are delighted to be a strategic partner of Azuri as a market leader and see their solar home solutions and services as catalysts for change in the Africa energy sector and beyond.”
Marubeni Corporation was founded more than 150 years ago and is now one of Japan's largest trading firms with global interests across energy, manufacturing, trading and investment. The company has been investing in solar energy businesses for over 20 years.