United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Marubeni buys into North Sea offshore project

UK: Japanese trading house Marubeni has bought a 49.9% stake in Dong Energy's Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm, located off England's Essex coast.

Marubeni has acquired a minority stake in the Gunfleet Sands wind farm
Marubeni has acquired a minority stake in the Gunfleet Sands wind farm
Marubeni will pay Dong around £200 million in cash for its stake in the 172MW project, which has been fully operational since 2010. It plans to raise the funds using mostly bank debt in a project-finance transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Dong will be providing operation and maintenance services to Gunfleet Sands under a long-term arrangement. The two firms have also agreed a long-term purchase agreement for the power production and green certificates arising from Marubeni's share of the project.

The acquisition does not include a stake in the transmission assets, which have been sold as part of the general tender process initiated by the UK regulator, Ofgem.

Marubeni has a worldwide renewable-energy portfolio, dominated by onshore wind, with a total capacity of 450MW. However, this transaction represents the first investment by any Japanese company in an offshore wind project.

The firm's other main commitment in the offshore wind sector to date has been as part of the Google-led consortium developing the Atlantic Grid Connection 6GW offshore transmission line, planned to run from New Jersey to Norfolk, Virginia.

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