Babcock & Brown puts European wind farms up for sale


Infrastructure investment giant Babcock & Brown has fired the starting pistol on the race to acquire its European wind farm portfolio after announcing that it has appointed Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan as advisors for the sale.

The company's wind energy division - Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (BBWP) - is one of the largest wind energy operators in Europe with farms in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy and France - and, according to reports, any deal is likely to be worth between $3.5bn and $4bn. BBWP said that any deal would aim to - "capture currently unrecognised value" - in some of its European assets.

Sources close to the sale process said that the company expected to see substantial interest in the assets from European energy companies under pressure to meet EU targets to ensure that 20 per cent of member states' energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.

Miles George, chief executive officer at BBWP confirmed that that the company has - "already received very strong interest from prospective purchasers" - adding that the company was aiming to agree any potential sale within six months.

The announcement is the latest indication that consolidation is beginning to affect the European wind energy industry. Earlier this year, UK-based energy giant Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) sparked speculation that many independent wind farm operators would be acquired by larger energy providers, when it agreed to pay €1bn for Ireland-based firm Airtricity (Click Here).

In related news, the company has confirmed that, as it seeks to divest its wind portfolio in Europe, it is seeking to build its first wind farm in Canada. According to Reuters reports, government-owned utility Manitoba Hydro is in talks with BBWP to develop a $582m 300MW wind farm in Winnipeg - capable of generating enough power for around 90,000 homes.