Business: French-German asset swap

German energy company E.on is acquiring full control of a wind project development pipeline totalling over 1 GW as part of its takeover of French energy supplier SNET.

E.on previously held a 65% stake in the French firm, which it acquired from Spanish utility Endesa last year. Now it is buying the remaining shares, 18.75% held by French utility EDF and 16.25% held by coal-mining company Charbonnage de France.

The deal is part of a wide-ranging asset swap agreed between E.on, EDF and EnBW, one of Germany's major energy suppliers, in which EDF holds a 45% share. SNET currently has around 2.5 GW of generating capacity, largely coal-fired. While its operating wind capacity stands at just 44 MW, spread across four sites in northern France, it is aiming for 200 MW by 2015.

Two more projects are due online by the end of the year - a 17.5 MW project, comprising GE 2.5 MW turbines, at Caulires in the Somme region, and 26 MW, comprising Enercon 2 MW machines, at Kergrist in Brittany. Another 38 MW is ready to build and over 1.3 GW is at various stages of development. In October 2008, E.On signed a partnership agreement with local developer Opale Energies Naturelles to jointly develop projects in southern and eastern France.

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