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Pioneering Taiwanese offshore developer sold to US investment firm

Swancor sells 95% of its renewables subsidiary to New York-based private-equity firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

A US private equity firm has bought one of Taiwan’s leading offshore wind developers.

Taiwanese chemicals company Swancor announced on Wednesday that it has signed a deal to sell 95% of its subsidiary Swancor Renewable Energy (SRE) to New York-based Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

The total transaction value is somewhere between $25.98m and $101.47m, according to a company filing at the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Swancor will keep a 5% stake in SRE and a seat on the board.

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SRE is a co-developer and co-owner of Taiwan’s first offshore project, the 8MW Formosa 1 phase 1, and the under-construction 120MW second phase, and has a 25% stake in the 376MW Formosa 2 project. It also owns an offshore wind operation service company.

Formosa 2, which is 75%-owned by Australian investment bank Macquarie, is scheduled to come on line by the end of 2021, with a feed-in tariff of NT$58 ($186) per MWh.

“Stonepeak aims to take Swancor Renewable Energy as a platform to expand to Taiwan offshore wind market, and apply experience to renewable market in Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia,” Swancor explained in an online press briefing.

Stonepeak describes itself as a “North America focused private equity firm with a conservative yet opportunistic approach to infrastructure investing” in energy, power and renewables, transportation, utilities, water and communications. It manages more than $15bn of capital for its investors.

A month ago, the Taiwanese company first revealed the intention to completely sell off its renewables subsidiary to “a European or [North] American energy company” by the end of June, but then postponed the decision to “invite more potential buyers” for discussion. Local media previously listed Japan’s Marubeni, Norway’s Equinor, and oil giant BP as suspected buyers.

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The asset sale will help Swancor to further focus on its wind blade materials business, encompassing resin and carbon fibre manufacturing, with factories located in Jiangsu and Tianjin in mainland China. The firm plans to expand its mainland China production line and build a new factory in Taiwan.

Earlier this month, MHI Vestas announced to sign a supply deal with Swancor for blade materials.

Swancor’s exit from the offshore wind development business — the intention for which was revealed last month — already has followers. Another local developer, China Steel Corp (CSC), recently revealed its intention to focus on its foundation manufacturing business and retreat from its developer role in the 300MW ZhongNeng phase 1 project.

CSC previously concluded an agreement with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Mitsubisihi unit Diamond Generation Asia (DGA) to cooperate in the project. But the final investment decision and share structure among the three have yet to be finalised, CSC said.

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