UPDATE 3-Solarpack shares soar on $1 bln bid from EQT

(Adds Solarpack CEO quote, updates shares)

MADRID, June 16 (Reuters) - Swedish fund EQT on Wednesday offered to buy Solarpack for 881.2 million euros ($1.07 billion), sending shares in the Spanish solar power group up more than 40%.

The offer highlights growing demand from investors for businesses that can help to shift economies away from fossil fuels and fight climate change.

In Spain, falling costs for power generation technology and rising political support have spurred moves to capitalise on the country’s relatively under-exploited solar resources.

EQT’s cash offer of 26.50 euros per share represents a roughly 45% premium over Solarpack’s closing price on Tuesday of 18.28 euros, EQT said in a statement.

Shares in Solarpack, which develops and operates solar plants mainly in Spain, Chile and India, rose 43%, just shy of the offer price, and stayed there into the early afternoon.

The exuberance spread to similar stocks, lifting rival Spanish solar developer Solaria as much as 9% against a broadly flat Madrid index.

EQT said in a statement its offer was conditional on reaching minimum acceptance of 75% plus one share and that it aimed to delist Solarpack if the bid was successful.

Owners of 51% of Solarpack stock have already signed binding agreements to sell, according to a document filed to the Spanish stock exchange.

Chief executive and co-founder Pablo Burgos, who agreed to sell his 8% stake in the company and stay on at the helm after the takeover, told Reuters he expected EQT to be a good partner.

“This is about opening a new phase for Solarpack in which we think an investor with EQT’s profile can bring lots of good things to the company,” Burgos said.

“From the conversations we have had, we think they have appetite for the world of renewables.”

Founded in 2005, Solarpack floated on the stock market in 2018. Its expansion plans include projects in the United States and other Latin American markets.

Renewable energy stocks rocketed during 2020 as policymakers talked about building back more sustainably from the coronavirus pandemic, but valuations have dropped from a peak reached in January.

The iShares global Clean Energy ETF, which tracks some of the biggest names in the sector, is 20% down on the year.

Even after the boost from Wednesday’s offer, Solarpack is down by 24% from its January peak of 34.50 euros.

Credit Suisse and Clifford Chance are advising EQT on the bid. ($1 = 0.8246 euros) (Reporting by Nathan Allen, editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)