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Spain

Profits powered by wind acquisition -- Acciona energy turnover doubles

Wind power was the prime mover behind strong growth in the first six months of the year for Spanish construction group Acciona. While group turnover was up 11.5% on the same period a year earlier, its energy division, Acciona Energía, bolstered by its takeover of wind giant Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN) in January, reported an increase of more than 50% to EUR 227 million. Renewable energy contributed 38% of the group's EUR 301 million earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization -- up from 22% in the first half of 2004.

"The results once again vindicate the diversification course taken by the group, especially in renewables and services," according to stockbrokers Banesto bank. Earnings in the services and airport logistics division grew by 12%. On the back of its half year results -- and likely influenced by the government's new 20 GW wind target for 2010 -- Acciona's share price rose to an all-time high of EUR 90.65, a hike of 39.25% over the year.

The half year report comes as Acciona's bid for foreign expansion gains ground, particularly in North America. Construction is to start soon on 30 MW in Canada part owned by EHN (page 32) and, according to Spanish newspaper Cinco Días, Acciona is to embark on an ambitious EUR 1 billion, 1000 MW development plan in the US.

Citing an unnamed Acciona "management source," the newspaper says Acciona will develop 350 MW in the US over the next three years, followed by 150 MW each year during 2009-2012. New York, it says, is earmarked for 350 MW while 450 MW will be installed in the Midwest states of North and South Dakota, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma, with the remaining 200 MW due for the Pacific coast. Construction of Acciona's 12 MW Velva project in North Dakota using Vestas 660 kW turbines has started. Acciona already holds a 25% share of the 74 MW Blue Canyon pant operating in Oklahoma.

Manufacturing

Meantime, the status of Acciona's wind turbine manufacturing division is unclear. On the one hand, Acciona has said it will use its Ingetur 1.5 MW turbine, developed by EHN, to supply all of the 800 MW in Valencia, Spain, which its affiliate Renomar won the concession for; Acciona will also build a factory in China to produce 800 MW of Ingetur turbines a year (Windpower Monthly, August 2005). On the other hand, Acciona just selected turbines from Spain's Ecotècnia to supply a 114 MW extension of an existing 50 MW plant of Ingetur machines. The four-phase extension to the Rubió wind farm in Catalonia will use 68, 1.67 MW Ecotècnia machines.

The reason for opting for Ingetur's domestic rival is unclear. Acciona declines to comment, but industry speculation ranges from the company's large-scale diversification to overstretched resources. Before the Valencia deal, Acciona had already ordered 400 MW of Ingetur turbines, which are made at a facility established in Navarra in 2003. Another factory is to be built in Valencia to supply turbines for Renomar.

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