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KKR buys into Sorgenia's French wind-power assets

US private-equity giant KKR is entering the European renewables sector by investing in French wind power operations being developed by Sorgenia.

KKR and Sorgenia will set up a joint venture that sweeps up 153MW of capacity already installed in France by the Italian energy group and another 95MW at an advanced stage of development.

The two partners will each have a 50% share in the joint venture, which will control assets worth about €236m ($339.6m).

Sorgenia will manage operation of the jointly-owned facilities and will continue to independently develop other wind and PV projects in France.

The deal marks the first investment in European renewables by KKR, one of the biggest names in global private equity.

“The wind parks in this joint venture are attractive and core infrastructure assets, providing long-term cash flow visibility,” says Jesus Olmos, European head of KKR’s infrastructure business.

Renewable energy represents “one of the most attractive and promising areas of infrastructure,” Olmos adds.

Sorgenia says it plans to boost its total wind-power footprint in France and Italy from 234MW at the end of 2010 to more than 450MW in 2016.

The deal to set up the joint venture is due to be completed in September.