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France

Aerowatt acquisition strengthens position in French market

Aerowatt, a French independent wind plant developer, owner and operator, has bought a 66% stake in Valeco-SPE, a Montepellier-based project developer and independent power producer in the renewables sector. The seller was SPE, Belgium's second largest electricity producer. Veleco-SPE has 56 MW in operating wind power capacity, all in southern France, and is building a 12 MW plant in the Haute-Loire département, due for completion by the end of the year. The company has also applied for permission to site another 12 MW project in the Aude, which it will now co-develop with Aerowatt, while also investigating other possibilities. The acquisition is part of Aerowatt's strategy to strengthen its position in the French market. Until 2006, the company, which was founded by French turbine-manufacturer Vergnet, focused on France's overseas territories. In November 2006, it raised EUR 17 million through a private placement of shares on Euronext Paris's Marché Libre and recently set in motion plans to transfer its shares to the more visible - and demanding - Alternext market. It hopes to raise further equity at the same time as the transfer. The company currently has 57 MW of operating wind assets (55 MW on its own account), although only 2 MW of this is in mainland France, with the rest overseas. With a project portfolio of over 1260 MW, Aerowatt is targeting 350 MW of installed wind power by 2014.

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