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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

New wind energy investment fund

A new specialist fund is looking for equity investment opportunities in wind energy developments in Europe. Private equity firm Englefield Capital says it has closed its renewable energy fund at EUR 200 million and will now be looking to invest in operating and consented projects using proven technology which need capital financing.

The fund is interested in wind assets in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Englefield says it intends to work with a wide range of developers and owners as an investor only. Neither will the fund invest in early stage developments or new technologies. With typical levels of project debt, the new fund should be able to stimulate investments totalling almost £1 billion.

Englefield first entered the wind arena as one of the key players in the groundbreaking Zephyr financing deal in early 2004. This saw a £400 million financing of npower renewables' UK wind portfolio. Englefield and its two equity partners committed £100 million and raised £300 million of bank finance.

The new fund will be managed by Andrew Lee and Edward Hyams, who helped lead the Zephyr deal. "We know efficient and knowledgeable financing is vital for developers and owners of wind energy assets," says Lee. "With ambitious targets in place across Europe, we are well positioned to respond to the growing need for capital throughout the market."

One of the benefits of the fund is that it can attract competitive bank finance on projects that are smaller than they would normally look at on a stand alone basis, he says. While Englefield would prefer larger projects, it will look seriously at any over 20 MW -- or less if the developer has a pipeline of projects following, he adds.

The fund is supported by international investment offices who have authorised Englefield to make investment decisions on their behalf. "That gives us hugely more flexibility and authority and speed and responsiveness in what we do," says Lee. "We are, I believe, the only fund managers who have their own committed fund for wind energy. Other organisations which appear, on the face of it, to be investors are in reality more like advisors to their investors and do not have full investment authority themselves. This can, and has, led to disappointments at the last minute. Our objective is to invest this money as quickly as we can."

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