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Germany

Germany

Wind Business: Siemens turns project developer

Siemens Project Ventures (SPV), the equity arm of the Siemens group, has acquired a 25% stake in German wind project developer BGZ Beteiligungsgesellschaft Zukunftsenergien for an undisclosed price.

BGZ develops, finances and operates onshore wind projects under the name Windkraft Nord and has installed 950 MW of wind capacity since it was formed in 1991. Wind accounts for around 90% of its EUR50 million a year business, with solar and biomass making up the remaining 10%. BGZ employs some 140 people and has subsidiaries in Europe and the US.

Calling the transaction small for a corporation the size of Siemens, Siemens' Marc Langendorf says the acquisition is primarily a financial investment, but one providing "a good fit," giving Siemens' wind turbine manufacturing unit a better chance of winning turbine contracts in BGZ wind projects. Siemens Project Ventures has collaborated with BGZ for the past three years in a joint venture called InnovativeWind Concepts (IWC), founded in 2006 to develop and install wind energy projects mainly in central and eastern Europe. IWC has activities under way in Romania and Bulgaria and will open an office in Chile within months.

For BGZ, Siemens' stake speeds the process of gaining access to new markets, "always a long affair requiring a lot of patience and costing time and money," says Catrin Petersen of BGZ. Windkraft Nord is pursuing wind projects in Turkey, the Ukraine and other markets. "Having such a well-known company as Siemens on board can also act as a door opener around the world," she adds.

Peterson stresses that BGZ will not necessarily favour Siemens turbines. The company also has a close relationship with Denmark's Vestas. BGZ chairman, founder and main stakeholder was managing director of Vestas Deutschland for about a decade to 1999. In addition, Hans Jorn Rieks, managing director of Vestas Central Europe A/S is a member of the BGZ supervisory board.

BGZ group subsidiary Nordstrom New Energy owns stakes in 31 MW of wind capacity across 34 wind projects. It plans to broadly expand its wind capacity in Germany to secure a steady income stream that will supplement irregular income from the sale of wind projects, in particular those developed abroad. These projects tend to be larger than those in Germany and financing is tougher, resulting in longer intervals between each sale.

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