Infigen to focus on core Australian market

AUSTRALIA: Infigen Energy has sold its remaining wind power business in France as it continues to shed its non-core assets and focus on the Australian market.

The company, an offshoot of the defunct Babcock & Brown, will invest the money raised from the sale in its Australian wind development pipeline. Infigen managing director Miles George believes the Australian renewable energy market is poised for strong growth over the next ten years.

Its French portfolio comprised 52MW of operating capacity at Fruges, in the northerly Pas-de-Calais region. It was sold to London-based investment fund manager Platina Partners for EUR71.3 million. The sale leaves Infigen with interests in 35 wind power plants operating or under construction, representing a combined capacity of 2.2GW in Australia, Germany and the US. Its Australian development pipeline amounts to over 1GW.

The company is assessing final offers for its 1.07GW-strong US portfolio, but has decided to halt the sale of 128MW turning in Germany. The company said that the long-term value to shareholders of retaining the assets significantly exceeds the benefits of a sale at currently achievable prices, given the subdued state of European economies and capital markets. Revenues from the sale of electricity will be used to pay down company debt.

As for Platina Partners, Infigen's French portfolio represents the tenth investment for its European Renewable Energy Fund, which now has a total of 140MW operating or under construction. It also represents a return to the French market for the company, which exited its wind energy investments in France in late 2008 because it felt the market was overheated and it could get a good price at the time.

Since then, Platina has been seeking the right opportunity to reinvest in what it sees as one of the key European renewable energy markets, with an excellent support regime, Platina partner Alexandre Labouret says.

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