Blackstone-backed Vivint Solar IPO to raise up to $371 mln-Reuters

(Reuters) – Vivint Solar Inc, a residential solar panel installer backed by Blackstone Group LP, is expected to raise up to $371 million in its initial public offering.

The company said on Thursday that it expected its IPO to be priced between $16 and $18 per share, valuing it at about $1.9 billion at the top end of the price range.

Provo, Utah based-Vivint Solar was launched in 2011 and is currently the second-largest installer of residential solar panels in the United States after SolarCity Corp, which is backed by Tesla Motors Inc founder Elon Musk.

The value of SolarCity’s stock has risen more than eight-fold since the company’s market debut in December 2012.

Blackstone bought Vivint Solar’s parent, Vivint Inc, in 2012 for more than $2 billion.

The U.S. residential solar energy market is expected to grow at the rate of 37 percent per year on a compounded basis, to 3,258 megawatts of capacity in 2018, according to research firm GTM Research.

Vivint Solar installs panels at no cost to the homeowner, charging for the electricity used at a rate that is about 20 to 30 percent lower than the rate charged by the local utility. The contracts last for 20 years, and the rate goes up slightly each year.

The company is selling all the 20.6 million shares in the IPO.

Blackstone’s stake in Vivint Solar will fall to 75.3 percent from 97 percent after the offering, assuming the underwriters fully exercise their option to buy additional shares.
Vivint Solar’s revenue rose more than five-fold, to $10.06 million, for the six months ended June 30, compared with a year earlier. The company posted a profit of $12.5 million during the period, compared with a net loss of $20.4 million a year ago.

Vivint Solar has said it expects to use the proceeds from the IPO for investments, general corporate purposes and to repay debt.
The company had about $78.3 million in long-term debt on a pro forma basis as of June 30.

Vivint Solar intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “VSLR”.

Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Credit Suisse are the lead underwriters to the IPO.