Banks keen on Spanish wind

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Another recent flurry of investments in wind power by Spanish banks underlines the perceived profitability of the country's fastest growing energy sector. Banco Sabadell, a Catalonian-based bank, has bought up exactly half of Explotaciones Eólicas Sierra de Utrera, which operates the 33 MW Casares wind plant, the only one to have gone up to date in the much-coveted Málaga province. The bank already controls 17% of Enervent, which operates the 37 MW Colladetes plant in Catalonia.

Meanwhile, a renewables investment joint venture, Fibanc Energías Renovables (FERSA), has bought a EUR 9 million stake in three developments in the La Janda area of Cadíz province in Andalucia. FERSA, which aims to trade on Barcelona's stock exchange by the end of the summer, is backed by banks Fibanc, Catalana Occidente and Sa Nostra. A minority share is held by Jose María Roger Ezpeleta, a private investor formerly in charge of NEG Micon's activities in Spain.

The three FERSA projects, worth EUR 50 million, have been developed by Wigep, an alliance between the president of Visa España, Eduardo Merigó, and a large construction company. FERSA director Jordi Jofre is confident that building will begin in the summer -- a strong indication that the freeze on wind development in the area is about to be lifted (Windpower Monthly, January 2002). Just one year after its creation, FERSA is also processing its own 50 MW wind development in Almatret, Catalonia. Jofre hopes to begin building the EUR 50 million project in 2003.

Lastly, Aersa, the wind development wing of insurance company Agupacio Mutua, has clinched EUR 17.29 million in project finance from the Banco Bilibao Vizcaya Argentaria. The credit is for Aersa's 18 MW La Plana development in Zaragoza. Aersa, which is also listed on Barcelona's stock exchange, is currently in the process of developing two other projects in Zaragoza, each of 24 MW.

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