Bilfinger says will leave renewable energy group Desertec

FRANKFURT, April 13 Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:25am EDT

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FRANKFURT, April 13 (Reuters) - Bilfinger is leaving the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), a German industrial group that aims to import solar and wind power from deserts, a spokesman for the industrial services group said on Sunday.

"We are not extending our contract when it expires at the end of 2014," the spokesman said, confirming a German daily Handelsblatt report due to be published on Monday.

Bilfinger's move is the latest in a series of blows to the project, which was set up in 2009 with the aim of providing up to 15 percent of Europe's power by 2050 from solar and wind parks in North Africa and the Middle East.

German utility E.ON last week said it would quit DII, preferring to focus on its own projects, while Siemens and Bosch left the group in 2012 after the two companies had made investments of their own in solar power, which proved unsuccessful after the sector was hit by global overcapacity and price declines.

Last year the Desertec Foundation, a supporting non-profit initiative, also pulled out due to a row over strategy, communication and management style.

Deutsche Bank and Munich RE are some of the other corporate shareholders that continue to back the project.

(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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