Financial boost for Indian start up -- Strategic investor on board

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Private equity firm First Reserve has taken a stake in Kenersys, a relatively new wind turbine manufacturer and project developer owned by Kalyani Group, a leading Indian industrial conglomerate. While First Reserve, which specialises in the energy sector, declines to discuss the financial terms of the deal, the company's Francesco Giuliani says it is "a perfect match between First Reserve's energy experience and Kalyani Group's operational excellence." The Indian company's chairman, B.N. Kalyani, says with First Reserve as a "a strategic investor" Kalyani can further strengthen its business in the wind sector.

Kalyani, which includes flagship company Bharat Forge among its holdings, already supplies parts to component suppliers to the wind industry and has "utilised these relationships to secure components for Kenersys."

Kenersys is planning to initially supply 2 MW and 2.5 MW turbines, having acquired RSBConsult, a small German turbine design and consulting company, in September last year. The machines are in the detailed design phase, with full commercialisation expected in the last quarter of this year or early 2009. "Prototypes of the machines have and are being tested," says Caroline Harris of CJP Communications, speaking for First Reserve. She reveals no further details but expects some units to be sold this year.

As well as becoming a wind turbine supplier, Kenersys also plans to expand the sub-components side of its wind business by designing and developing more key parts for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and for the so-called "tier one" companies that supply to the OEMs in the wind industry. The strategy will at the same time reduce its reliance on outside component supplies for its turbines.

"Superior design and performance with secure component supply from a low cost manufacturing base puts Kenersys in an outstanding position to meet the shortage of wind turbine capacity in the world today," says First Reserve's Glenn Payne. "We believe that Kenersys will quickly emerge as a leader in the turbine manufacturing industry."

Kenersys has a design office in Münster, Germany, where the former RSBConsult was based. Manufacturing facilities are planned for Germany and India to serve the European and Asia Pacific markets. The Indian facility is being built outside Pune, where Kalyani is based, while the German facility is still in negotiation. Ultimately, there will be a base in the US too, says Harris.

Kenersys intends to focus on turnkey wind farm project development, it says, but together with First Reserve may diversify into wind plant ownership too. "Additional investment opportunities have been identified as a follow-up investment in either incremental capacity or as ownership of wind farms," say the partners.

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