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Areva snaps up Multibrid to create new division

French nuclear giant Areva says it will buy the remaining 49% of German offshore turbine maker Multibrid, as it hastens its push into the renewables business.



LONDON/SEATTLE: Areva first invested in the Bremerhaven-based Multibrid in 2007, buying a 51% stake from Prokon Nord that valued the company at €150m ($183m).

The deal underscores Areva's belief in the commercial viability of offshore wind, according to a spokeswoman. "We're targeting a 25% share of the European market for offshore turbines, and we plan to get there well before 2020," she tells Recharge .

Areva will create a new division to be known as Areva Wind, into which it will roll Multibrid and blade manufacturer PN Rotor, which it purchased in August 2009. PN is the exclusive provider of blades for Multibrid's five-megawatt (MW) M5000 turbines.

In March 2009, Multibrid scored its first major order. Developer Wetfeet Offshore Windenergy, which is backed by several German utilities, will pay €700m for 80 Multibrid turbines at its 400MW Global Tech wind park under development in the German North Sea. Construction is set to begin next year. Multibrid's turbines had their international debut in late 2009 after being installed at the Alpha Ventus test project 45km off the German island of Borkum. Six M5000 units are currently spinning at Alpha Ventus alongside six REpower 5M turbines.

Areva is expanding its renewables footprint in many directions simultaneously. In February, it snapped up California-based concentrating solar thermal start-up Ausra.

The company is aiming to become a "global renewables leader" by 2015, when it would like its revenues from renewables to hit €1bn a year.

Areva's total grouprevenues were €8.5bn in 2009.