Baywa ploughs into wind development

GERMANY: The Bavarian BayWa conglomerate, active in agriculture, construction materials and energy, is stepping up its involvement in the wind and renewables sector. In August it announced acquisitions of wind-project developers in the USA and Austria.

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BayWa is building up a portfolio to feed into its business model of wind-project development, construction and sale, a strategy known as build, own, operate and transfer (or BOOT). Ideally, sale of wind and renewables projects is paced to ensure a steady flow of profits year by year.

In the US, the company's 100% renewables subsidiary BayWa RE USA has acquired 70% of WKN USA from Windkraft Nord USA, a subsidiary of Germany-based wind-project developer WKN. In shouldering WKN USA's debts of $15 million, there is no payout of a purchase price, BayWa said. The deal secures BayWa 110MW of projects that are ready to build and a pipeline of 1GW.

In Europe, BayWa RE is acquiring 90% of Austrian company Ecowind for €4.6 million (excluding Ecowind debts) from AAG Holding, which now intends to concentrate on its core agricultural market. Ecowind has a pipeline of 400MW and develops wind projects in Austria and eastern Europe.

In late 2010, BayWa had announced the planned purchase of two permitted onshore wind projects totalling 27MW, as well as options for a further eight projects totalling around 180MW, all in the UK, from RWE Npower. The purchase price was EUR17 million.

BayWa launched its renewables offshoot in 2009 by making several strategic acquisitions, including developer Renerco Renewable Energy Concepts with its strong wind division. It now owns 130MW of wind capacity and has 1.8GW of secured project rights, the most profitable of which will be pursued. Under its BOOT business strategy, it has so far sold 150MW of wind capacity out of a total 630MW of wind, photovoltaic and biogas capacity divested to third parties.

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