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Edison Mission ponders 1.73GW wind farm sale

UNITED STATES: The sale of a 1.73GW portfolio of wind projects is being considered by bankrupt developer Edison Mission Energy (EME) as part of a sell-off of its 4.5GW of power plants.

EME, a subsidiary of Edison International, filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2012.

The firm's wind business, Edison Mission Wind, has a 2.1GW portfolio of 16 projects, including 1.73GW worth of operating wind farms. It is EME's one bright spot and was excluded from the bankruptcy filing.

EME's projects include the 240MW Big Sky project in Illinois, 100MW Storm Lake in Iowa and the 80MW Broken Bow project in Nebraska.

According to court papers, the company has $5.1 billion in assets with a combined generating capacity of 4.5GW. It carries roughly $3.7 billion in debt and another $1.3 billion in liabilities.

However, EME is reportedly considering putting the wind business up for sale alongside all of its other generating assets — largely coal-fired plants — that were included in the bankruptcy.

According to reports, EME is currently in the process of selecting financial advisers to help run the sale, which could be run in a variety of ways.

One method may well be a court-run auction, with parallel auctions for different types of generating assets, freeing the wind business to be sold as a stand-alone offering. There is project debt on a large number of the 16 wind projects.

The next hurdle for EME comes next week, at a court hearing on 15 May where the firm will seek to extend the period over which it has the exclusive rights to remedying its bankruptcy.

Failure to do so would see the bankruptcy come under state control and make it difficult to include the wind business in any sale of the overall portfolio as it was excluded from the original bankruptcy filing.

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