Babcock sells €1.15bn wind assets

The firm has sold its substantial portfolio of Portuguese wind energy businesses and is currently in negotiations to sell off similar assets in Germany, France and Greece as it seeks to relieve its debt burden.

Global infrastructure specialist Babcock and Brown has sold a portfolio of Portuguese wind farm assets to a consortium led by Iberian buyout firm Magnum Capital.

Babcock and Brown, which jointly owned the assets with its listed vehicle Babcock and Brown Wind Partners, said it made A$286 million (€147 million: $186 million) in proceeds from the €1.15 billion sale. The proceeds will be used to pay down project debt secured against European wind assets, the firm told the Australian stock exchange.

Enersis: turning a profit for B&B

The portfolio comprises around 515 Mega Watts of currently operational and farms and a further 156 Mega Watts under construction.

The consortium led by Magnum Capital included Espirito Santo Capital, the private equity arm of Banco Espirito Santo, a bank which previously led a €1 billion refinancing of Enersis in November 2006.

Fjord Capital, a Nordic clean energy fund, was also part of the acquiring consortium.

Babcock & Brown originally acquired Enersis in a €490 million transaction in December 2005, with debt financing provided by Banco Espirito Santo. The transaction included wind farm assets in France and Spain, as well as small investments in bio-fuel and wave technology projects.

Babcock and Brown is currently in negotiations to sell wind energy assets in France, Greece and Germany in an attempt to reduce its debt burden.

Chief executive officer Michael Larkin said the firm would continue to reduce leverage “through an orderly asset sale process,” adding: “There remains no specific time frame on the reduction of gearing levels and we will continue to maximise returns from the asset sale process.”