New owner of offshore technology -- Pfleiderer divests Multibrid

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Pfleiderer Wind Energy, a subsidiary of German wood materials and infrastructure specialist Pfleiderer, has sold its offshore wind energy activities to Prokon Nord Energiesysteme in order to concentrate on its cores business. Prokon now owns Pfleiderer's offshore turbine company, Multibrid Entwicklungsgesellschaft.

Multibrid's activities include development of the offshore Multibrid technology, which resulted in the Pfleiderer 5 MW model, the prototype of which was installed at Bremerhaven in August. The turbine is to be commissioned in early summer and will be tested and re-engineered if necessary before being marketed.

The companies have not disclosed the price paid by Prokon. "The figure is partly dependent on the new owner's success in marketing the offshore turbine in the medium term," according to Pfleiderer's Ulrich Körner.

Pfleiderer acquired the Multibrid technology from Aerodyn Engineering of Rendsburg in 2000. In early 2003, it agreed with Prokon Nord to supply five of the 12 machines for a pilot phase of Prokon Nord's Borkum West offshore project in the North Sea. Borkum was the first offshore project in Germany to gain a construction permit, in November 2001. The permit is for 12 turbines. A combined capacity of 600 MW has been permitted so far out of 68 GW planned for German waters.

The search for a strategic partner or buyer has been divided between the offshore and onshore wind sectors says Körner. The company is holding talks with potential German and foreign strategic partners for its onshore business. In 2003, Pfleiderer sold 25 of its 600 kW wind turbine and five of the PWE 1.5 MW unit. The designs were bought from small Austrian company Windtec in 2000.

Prokon Nord is a major stakeholder in wind developer and financier Enertrag, which operates 230 turbines onshore in Germany.

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