As of mid-January 2021, our team has a new member – Lili Kirikal who joined Sunly as a CFO. Lili is a financial expert in the energy sector whose passion is complex Excel tables that need to be analyzed quickly. In addition, Lili has a superpower in explaining to foreign investors what to expect from local regulations and how to design strategies that maximize values. Lili surely can use all this in her new job as Sunly has recently won with a total of 92MW new solar energy projects in the Polish renewable energy auctions.
Lili, why did you decide to join Sunly?
First of all, it seemed to me that now is a good moment in my life to make a bigger change and learn something new. I feel that I have the energy and desire to kick-start and develop a company that is just beginning. Since I definitely wanted to continue in the energy and financial sector and also operate in an international environment, Sunly as a renewable energy producer in the Baltics and Poland was a pretty natural choice.
What is your background?
My journey to the financial world started from SSE Riga where I discovered that my favorite subjects were micro-, macro- and financial economics. Therefore, I ended up as the teaching assistant at those courses. After I had completed the CFA program, I continued in volunteering as a grader and mentor at the CFA Research Challenge student competition for many years.
During my 15-year career, I have always been a financial consultant at the transaction advisory services teams – initially at PwC and later at EY Tallinn and EY Helsinki offices. At EY I focused on the energy sector, which became my next big passion after finance and teaching.
During my Finnish period I was mainly involved in large-scale projects in regulated energy sector, including district heating, in many countries – Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
With respect to largest projects, I should mention my time at EY Tallinn office with the annual reviews of Nelja Energia’s wind farms’ fair value tests, which of course included long discussions with Kalle Kiigske regarding the forecast of electricity prices and the probabilities of political developments.
Please name three main areas you plan to focus on as Sunly’s CFO.
- Leading capital raising processes in a professional way. My main work area has been evaluations and due diligence. In M&A projects I have had more of a supportive role, but I hope that my Big 4 background will be multifunctionally useful in implementing Sunly’s strategy. As Sunly has recently won with almost 100 MW new solar energy projects in the Polish renewable energy auctions, one of my first tasks will be to raise capital for the realization of these projects.
- Promoting transparency and trust which is particularly important when more and more investors join Sunly’s projects. This part also includes the automatization of the reporting system, because although I do like Excel, I like it even more when things work as efficiently as possible.
- I think that people in the field of renewable energy must have strong nerves and thick skin, given how strongly this field is affected by political winds. At the same time, it makes this area extremely exciting. I would like to contribute to meaningful discussions and the development of strategies that take into account the real motivations of the counterparties.