September 24, 2019 / 3:20 AM / a month ago

Australia's Windlab lines up private equity fund support in stake sale

MELBOURNE, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Australian wind power developer Windlab Ltd has lined up a new source of funding with its founding shareholder selling its 18.4 percent stake to private equity fund Federation Asset Management.

Federation bought the stake for A$10 million ($6.8 million), or 80 cents a share, a 3.75% discount to Windlab’s close on Monday, to become the company’s biggest shareholder, Federation’s head of renewable energy, Stephen Panizza, said.

“The idea is that we collaborate with Windlab to help them deliver on the project pipeline they have,” Panizza told Reuters.

Windlab has run into delays on its projects due to challenges faced by Australia’s electricity market operator in hooking up an influx of wind and solar farms to the grid. The delays have knocked the company’s shares down 44% over the past year.

“I don’t think the listed market sees the true value of the platform,” Panizza said.

Windlab has used proprietary wind modelling technology developed by Australia’s science research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, to acquire wind farm development sites in North America, Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa with a total potential capacity of 7,406 megawatts (MW) of power, according to its web site.

So far, it has reached financial close on 1,093 MW, with some projects under construction and others completed.

Windlab said in August it was lauching a review of options to improve shareholder value.

Its executive chairman and chief financial officer were not immediately available to comment on whether the partnership with Federation was the outcome of the review.

$1 = 1.4769 Australian dollars Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kim Coghill

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