GDF sells Canadian assets to Mitsui and Fiera Axium

CANADA: France's GDF Suez is to sell 60% of its 680MW Canadian wind and solar portfolio as part of its debt reduction efforts.

Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsui and Co. and a consortium led by Canadian portfolio management firm Fiera Axium Infrastructure will each buy a 30% stake in the new joint venture.

GDF Suez’s Canadian portfolio includes 363MW of operating wind facilities, and a further 297MW of wind and 20MW solar capacity expected to start commercial operation by the end of 2014. All have long-term PPAs.

GDF Suez will retain a 40% interest and continue to operate the assets.

As part of the deal, the joint venture has raised C$1.1 billion of project finance from Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company.

The transaction will reduce GDF Suez’s net debt by C$1.3 billion (€1 billion), says the power company.

GDF CEO Gérard Mestrallet said: "This transaction represents an excellent example of monetising value created through our investments, alongside retaining the upside from future renewable developments and from our operations and maintenance experience."

ERG buys Italian and German assets

Last week, Italian energy group ERG agreed to acquire 636MW in wind farms from GDF Suez in a deal that will not only make it Italy's largest wind producer but also give it a foothold in Germany.

The enterprise value (debt and equity for 100% of the company) of the deal is €859 million, ERG said, or about €1.35 million per megawatt of installed capacity. ERG already had 488MW of installed wind capacity in Italy.