COPENHAGEN, July 17 Denmark's Dong Energy
has agreed to divest 50 percent of a German offshore
wind farm project to a group of Danish pension funds, a sale
that would free up capital to expand its offshore wind business,
it said on Thursday.
The utility firm has a target of expanding its installed
offshore wind capacity to 6.5 gigawatt in 2020 up from the
current 2.2 gigawatt. By selling the stake, DONG would remain
the operator of the project and keep its capacity.
"Today's agreement enables us to free up capital to continue
our investment programme and thereby assists us in reaching this
target," executive vice president in DONG Energy Wind Power,
Samuel Leupold, said in a statement.
Including the German divestment, the company has sold stakes
in wind farms worth more than 12 billion Danish crowns ($2.18
billion) so far this year, including 25 percent of London Array
1, a 175-wind turbine project.
The stake in the 252-gigawatt Gode Wind 2 project in the
German North Sea will be sold for around 600 million euros ($812
million) to pension funds PKA, Industriens Pension, Laerernes
Pension and Laegernes Pensionskasse.
The project consists of 42 wind turbines supplied by German
Siemens and is expected to start in 2015 with full
commissioning for this and the Gode Wind 1 wind farm in 2016.
DONG Energy came under financial pressure in 2012 due to
losses in the gas market, leading to a restructuring that ended
up raising 33 billion crowns.
This was done in part through sell-offs and a capital
injection from a group of investors led by funds managed by
Goldman Sachs, which bought around a quarter of the
otherwise state-owned utility.
Goldman's purchase of the stake, finalised in February, led
caused a political storm and led to the departure of a political
party from the ruling coalition government..
($1 = 0.7389 Euros). ($1 = 5.5110 Danish Crowns)
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by William Hardy)