Italian energy company buys French wind developer

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Française d'Eoliennes, a developer, builder and operator of wind power plant, is the latest French wind company to be snapped up. Italian electricity and gas producer Sorgenia, a joint-venture between Italy's industrial holding company, Compagnie Industriali Riunite and Austria's national electricity operator, Verbund, bought 80% of Française d'Eoliennes for around EUR 198 million. The deal was to be finalised by the end of 2007, up until which time shareholders owning the remaining 20% can sell under the same terms. The final price depends on the level of debt, which currently stands at around EUR 97 million. Sorgenia will use existing lines of credit to finance the purchase. Française d'Eoliennes operates 115 MW of wind power in France (15 MW for third parties), including one of the country's largest installations to date, a 54 MW development at Voie Sacrée in the north easterly Meuse département. The company will build a further 39 MW this year and has another 1000 MW at various stages of development. The deal will bring Sorgenia's total operating wind power capacity to 101.5 MW, with 120 MW permitted or under construction and some 2700 MW in the pipeline. In Italy, it is currently building an 18 MW facility at Minervo Murge, 10 MW at Castelnuovo di Conza and 42.5 MW at San Gregorio Magno. Both Française d'Eoliennes and Sorgenia are also active in the photovoltaic sector.

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