Investors scramble to buy major Spanish developer CESA

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The scramble is on to buy Spanish wind operator Corporación Eólica SA (CESA) and its nearly 800 MW of wind capacity, not to mention a project portfolio of around 1000 MW. Rumours were rife last month about competing bids -- most notably from Spanish wind project firm Acciona Energía, Portuguese utility Energía de Portugal (EDP) and global wind investor Babcock & Brown. All of the companies reportedly bidding decline to comment as did CESA and its two main capital-risk shareholders, Mercapital (45%) and Bridgepoint (20%). Smaller private shareholders, however, confirmed the offers. Several sources say Acciona has been negotiating for some time with Mercapital, Bridgepoint and CESA's big private shareholder, Gamesa founder Juan Luis Arregui (30%) and that leaked reports had brought in competitive bids. Acciona Energía is the renewables arm of construction and logistics group Acciona, which operates just under 10.5% of Spain's 10 GW of wind plant. EDP recently showed the global wind market its teeth and claws when it outbid others to buy Spanish developer-operator Desarrollos Eólicos from Dutch utility Nuon (Windpower Monthly, January 2006). In a recent and similarly aggressive move, Babcock and Brown outplayed Spanish utility Iberdrola to buy Portugal's biggest wind operator, Enersis (Windpower Monthly, January 2006). CESA developed out of a merger with Terranova a year ago, a spin-off from California's Seawest, a one-time major developer in the US.

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