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Spain

Spain

Iberdrola tightens grip on Gamesa

Spanish utility Iberdrola, now claiming to be the world's top wind operator (Windpower Monthly, January 2005), has increased its stake in wind developer Gamesa, also among the world's top three turbine manufacturers. Iberdrola says the EUR 148 million purchase of a six per cent stake from Corporación IBV is "a commitment to Gamesa and to renewables." However, IBV is a joint venture in which Iberdrola owns a 50% share, with the rest owned by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Arentaria. Speculation is thus now mounting that the utility plans to buy the remaining 25.78% stake in Gamesa held by IBV in order to gain decision-making powers within the company.

Moreover, the share purchase quickly followed Gamesa's agreement to sell 608 MW of wind plant to a foreign outfit rather than Iberdrola, which had been widely tipped as favourite in the bidding. "As joint top shareholder in Gamesa, Iberdrola might not mind Gamesa competing as a developer, as long as it gets first refusal on the bulk of its plant sales. But if Gamesa makes major sales elsewhere, we can't expect Iberdrola just to twiddle its thumbs," says one industry commentator.

Iberdrola has already bought 982 MW from Gamesa. Its bid in the latest plant auction, together with an agreement late last year to buy 250 MW from Gamesa in Portugal, demonstrates its determination to buy more. Iberdrola insists it will not demand a presence on Gamesa's board following the six per cent purchase, but declines to comment on whether it aims to up its stake in the company and thus ensure more chance of securing future Gamesa plant sales. Iberdrola wants to increase its installed wind capacity from its current total of around 3000 MW to 5500 MW by 2008. Gamesa, meanwhile, says it has the world's largest wind development land bank, at over 15,000 MW across the globe, including over 5000 MW with grid connection rights. It aims to sell every megawatt it develops and Iberdrola is undoubtedly a keen buyer.

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