Fund giant Schroders takes a shine to the collapsed solar group Toucan

An infrastructure investor owned by Schroders, the fund manager, is in pole position to buy a solar farm operator that received hundreds of millions of pounds from a scandal-plagued local authority.

Sky News understands that Schroders Greencoat has become the leading candidate to acquire Toucan Energy, which collapsed into administration exactly a year ago.

It was unclear at the weekend whether Schroders Greencoat was in formal exclusivity to buy the portfolio of more than 50 solar parks.

Interpath Advisory, which is overseeing the administration process, appointed KPMG – the accountancy firm it was spun off from – to handle the auction.

Other bidders that had been in contention until recently included GLIL and CKI, the Hong Kong-based infrastructure giant.

Toucan’s collapse followed Thurrock Council had invested more than £650m into the company over a four-year period.

Although the local authority will receive a significant refund from the sale of the solar assets, Toucan’s collapse could still cost taxpayers tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds.

Thurrock’s financial misfortune echoes other councils that have invested in ill-fated private companies, including a significant number in the energy sector.

Thurrock Council Image: Google Street View

The timetable for a deal being finalized was also unclear.

A spokesman for Schroders declined to comment.

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