GE Financial sells Theolia stake to Turkish firm

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GE Energy Financial Services (GEEFS), the energy investing unit of GE Group, has sold its 16.9% stake in Theolia, a French wind energy developer and producer, less than two years after acquiring it in February 2007. Not that it is a complete withdrawal. The 6.46 million GEEFS shares, plus warrants for up to a further three million shares, were sold to Gama Enerji, which is owned 50-50 by Gama Holding of Turkey and GEEFS. Gama Enerji is a Turkish company active in the water and energy sectors. It now holds 16.59% of the capital of Theolia and 15.92% of the voting rights. When GEEFS acquired its stake in Theolia in 2007, it took the form of an assets-for-equity swap, with GEEFS contributing 165 MW of German operating capacity plus a direct investment of EUR 20 million. Financial details of the present deal have not been disclosed. Despite speculation in the market, Ari Ozozan, managing director of Gama Enerji, denies that the company has any plans to increase its stake in Theolia or launch a takeover bid. "We intend to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with Theolia as we develop our wind business," he says. "As an international development platform and investment platform, Gama Enerji was looking for opportunities in Europe and is interested in renewable energy both in Turkey and abroad," adds deputy director Munir Misirlioglu. It was "natural" for Gama Enerji to buy the shares, a process which took just two months. The company has eight wind power projects totalling 490 MW under development in Turkey, as well as various hydro, coal and combined coal and gas generation plants across Europe. GEEFS declined to comment.

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