German developer clinches big sale

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Marking further progress on the road to recovery, German project developer Plambeck Neue Energien has sealed a deal to sell 30 wind farms worth around EUR 400 million to Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (BBWP). The agreement is described by Plambeck as "of an unusually significant size for the European wind market." It will see BBWP acquire 180 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 300 MW.

The projects, all in Germany, are due for commissioning during 2006-2008 at locations in the states of North Rhine Westfalia, Lower Saxony and Brandenburg. Plambeck will retain responsibility for technical and commercial management of the developments.

The deal is a turning point for Plambeck after the turbulence of recent years, including "investigations by the public prosecutors office with regard to individuals" and "the very negative result for 2004," says the company's Dieter Kuprian. A three year company restructuring, including significant job cuts and the sale of French wind development arm Ventura, followed. Plambeck's turnover increased to EUR 68 million in 2005 from EUR 58.3 million in 2004 and it managed to return a profit before interest and tax of EUR 3.7 million, after a loss of EUR 136.6 million the previous year.

The BBWP deal now secures turnover, earnings and liquidity in Plambeck's core business of wind plant development on land for the next three years "with a strong partner who imparts to us planning security, fixed project sale prices and secured financing of the construction phase," it says.

On the back of the good news, Plambeck is asking investors for a 10% capital increase to strengthen its project development muscle. While the shares issue is yet to be finalised, the aim is to raise nominal capital from EUR 22.5 million to EUR 24.75 million by offering up to 2,249,526 new share certificates. Existing Plambeck shareholders can subscribe in a ratio of 10:1 while selected investors will be invited to take up any left on the table.

For BBWP, the deal increases its global wind portfolio to around 1000 MW in over a dozen projects on three continents (Windpower Monthly, April 2006).

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