Venture wind investment slips

Venture capital investments in the wind industry slipped to $135m in the third quarter, down from $210m in the preceeding three months.

Total Q3 investment in the sector came in at $5.6bn, according to figures from US consultancy Mercom. including venture capital funding and other equity financings, debt financings and announced project financing deals.

Brazilian utility Cemig’s $621m investment in developer Renova Energia; Marubeni ’s $133m buy-in to Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power and the $52m raised by wind developer Rabbalshede Kraftwerk were the stand-out venture capital deals in the quarter.

Total announced large-scale project funding from 59 investors in the quarter hit $3.7bn, via 28 deals, compared with $3.2bn from 24 deals in the second quarter.

Mercom also tracked more than 5GW of new project announcements globally for the quarter in “various stages of development”.

“With the capital markets thawing and the renewable-energy industry maturing – especially wind and solar – we are seeing more IPO [initial public offering] activity,” says Mercom chief executive Raj Prabhu.

Mercom recorded three Q3 wind IPOs, one each in the US (Pattern Energy), Canada (TransAlta Renewables) and Brazil (CPFL Renováveis ), translating into almost $1bn raised.

There were 14 mergers and acquisitions, four of which disclosed transaction values, totalling $280m. Top of the list  was the private-equity firm Actis’ acquisition of a 60% stake in Brazilian renewables outfit Atlantic Energias Renováveis for an initial commitment of $169m. Actis joins shareholders Pattac and Servinoga, the co-founders of Atlantic.

Other large deals were seen in Canadian infrastructuralist Capstone’s takeover of Renewable Energy Developers ( formerly Sprott Power) for $70m and Chinese conglomerate Poly LongMa Energy taking a 75% stake in Suzlon Energy’s China manufacturing subsidiary Suzlon Energy Tianjin for $28m.

After a stratospheric quarter of project acquisitions in Q2, the third quarter dipped to 26 transactions for a disclosed total of $177m. Still, so far this year there have been 79 project acquisitions, compared with 72 in all of 2012.

Wind farm investor Greencoat’s buy-up of the 26.65MW Cotton Farm and Earl’s Hall Farm from BayWa for $113m, by project value, tops the list of third-quarter acquisitions.

Other notables were US investment management firm BlackRock’s purchase of a 12MW wind project in southwest England from Renewable Energy Generation for $39m; Turkish infrastructure company Guris’ acquisition of the Subasi, Yaprak and Mugla projects, totalling 133MW, from Iberdrola for $15.39m, and Indian agrochemicals maker Nagarjuna Agrichem’s sell-off of its entire wind business to an undisclosed investor for $5m as part of a consolidation strategy.

Of the disclosed project acquisitions in Q3, eight were carried out by project developers, seven by investment funds, three by independent power producers and one by a utility.