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New owner for veteran developer

A deal that has been in the making for more than six months will give capital constrained EnXco a huge influx of cash to develop 1600 MW of wind projects it has in the pipeline in the US, Europe and Australia. French-owned SIIF Energies, the renewables affiliate of the state utility Electricité de France (EDF), announced in late May it is buying the developer and operator of wind projects for an undisclosed sum and extending its reach into the US renewable energy market. SIIF expects to ink the deal this month after US regulatory approval.

Joseph Fahrendorf, EnXco's vice president of business development in the US, says SIIF's purchase gives EnXco the infusion of capital it has needed. "Capital is what is constraining us from being a steady and consistent player," Fahrendorf says. This purchase gives EnXco access to EDF's balance sheets and "will expand our ability to be in more markets in this country."

Enxco holds 178 MW in US wind energy projects, 8 MW in the UK and 5 MW in Germany. Its primary business has been operating and maintaining wind farms, with a total capacity of 550 MW, for other owners. SIIF has renewable energy holdings in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico, all places where Enxco is not present in the market, Fahrendorf says.

Until now Enxco was owned by Danish institutional investors, who acquired the wind energy activities of the Enxco Group through a management buyout in 1998 from Foras Holding A/S, also Danish. Foras evolved from Difko, a company which channelled money from small Danish investors into hundreds of early Californian wind turbines. Fahrendorf says the Enxco investors had a four to five year exit strategy in which they would either sell the business, as they are now doing, or go public. Although the selling price is confidential, he says it is far more than anyone would expect. Industry rumour has put it at considerably over EUR 70 million.

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