Hg strengthens renewable energy portfolio

European buyout firm HgCapital has bought a French wind farm portfolio for €69 million. The deal is the latest wind farm investment for Hg’s renewable energy team.

London-based HgCapital has bought a portfolio of four wind farms for €69 million ($94 million), the latest in a string of wind farm investments by its newly-formed renewable energy team.

Hg is buying four wind farms in the Picardy region of France from German operator Enertrag. One is already in operation, while the other three will be built in 2007.

The Enertrag deal means that Hg’s renewable energy portfolio is now valued at more than €150 million. Its other wind farm investments include ReWind in Italy, Sorne Wind in Ireland, Tir Mostyn in Wales and Wind Direct in England, while it also recently bought German biogas company Aufwind Schmak for €50 million.

The team, which is led by Tom Murley, closed a €300 million dedicated fund in December.

Deals in the energy sector as a whole topped $50 billion in 2006, more than the combined amount of the previous three years, according to Dealogic. Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly popular area, as private equity firms look to cash in on the growing pressure at national and regional level to increase the proportion of energy that comes from renewable sources.

Founded in 2000, HgCapital has €2.5 billion under management and has offices in London, Amsterdam and Munich.