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Skypower takes stake in Canadian wind turbine maker AAER

SkyPower Corporation of Toronto, an affiliate of the New York-based global financial services giant Lehman Brothers, has acquired a 20.9% equity stake in AAER, a fledgling wind turbine manufacturer based in Quebec. SkyPower paid C$5 million for 14.3 million shares in AAER and has share purchase warrants for an additional 14.3 million shares at a price of C$0.45 each. The company also agrees to specify the use of AAER turbines in more than 900 MW of project proposals it submitted in response to Hydro-Quebec's call for a further 2000 MW of wind generation. "It is abundantly clear that AAER's plans by far surpass any effort to date to make Quebec a hub of wind turbine manufacturing and a solid export base, which is an important part of the Quebec government's vision for wind in Quebec," says SkyPower's Kerry Adler. AAER, which has a technology licensing agreement with Germany's Fuhrländer AG, plans to open a plant this year in Bromont, Quebec, to make blades and assemble nacelles. SkyPower's investment is a "major step" in AAER's development, says CEO Dave Gagnon, and refers to the global reach of Lehman Brothers, which bought its 50% stake in SkyPower earlier this year. SkyPower has about 7000 MW of wind and solar projects in its North American portfolio, but none that are operating. In late 2005, it raised more than C$77 million through the SkyPower Wind Energy Fund LP for investment in a Quebec wind project, but has struggled since to complete permitting.

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