COPENHAGEN, July 17 (Reuters) - 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