SeaEnergy Falls 44% on Agreement to Sell Wind Unit to Repsol

SeaEnergy Plc fell the most in seven years after the Aberdeen-based renewable energy company agreed to sell its offshore wind unit to Repsol YPF SA, Spain’s largest oil company, for about 50 million pounds ($82 million).

SeaEnergy shares tumbled 44 percent on London’s AIM market to 39.25 pence (64 cents), the biggest decline since March 2004. Today’s drop pared gains by SeaEnergy this year to 67 percent.

SeaEnergy will earn proceeds of 29.1 million pounds after deal costs and following repayment of 6.9 million pounds of loans from LC Capital Master Fund Ltd. and EDP Renovaveis SA, SeaEnergy Chairman Stephen Remp said in a phone interview.

“The market thought the sale of the SERL business would be much higher than what they actually achieved,” Gurpreet Gujral, a clean-technology equity analyst at Ambrian Capital Plc, said by telephone. Kate Hill, a spokeswoman for SeaEnergy, said “there may have been some profit-taking.”

The transaction will give Madrid-based Repsol entry into the U.K. offshore wind market, the world’s largest, as Britain targets 13 gigawatts of sea-based wind farms by 2020 to help meet European renewable-energy goals.

SeaEnergy Renewables, the unit being sold, has stakes in three offshore wind projects being developed in Scotland. Repsol has formed a partnership with EDP Renovaveis, the renewable-energy unit of Portuguese utility EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, to develop two of these fields, Remp said.

EDP Renovaveis said today in a statement that it would build the Moray Firth offshore wind project and the Inch Cape wind farm with Repsol. Those projects could generate as much as 2.4 gigawatts of power, of which EDPR will own a 60 percent share of the overall capacity, according to the statement.

Moray Firth Project

EDPR already owned a 75 percent stake in the Moray Firth facility, which decreases to 67 percent following Repsol’s acquisition of SERL. It will also hold a 49 percent share in the Inch Cape park in the outer Firth of Tay that could generate up to 905 megawatts, or enough power for 680,000 homes, EDPR said

SeaEnergy Renewables signed a lease agreement with the Crown Estate, the manager of U.K. seabed, for exclusive rights to develop the Inch Cape facility, it said today in a statement

“This deal allows us to take the view that we should be in oil and gas and marine renewables,” Remp said. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed news about the agreement.

Offshore Shareholdings

Repsol will hold a 33 percent stake in Moray Offshore Wind Ltd. and 51 percent of Inch Cape Offshore Wind Ltd., the Scottish government said in a statement. Repsol will also now own a 25 percent stake in the Beatrice sea-based wind farm, in which Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables holds the remainder.

SeaEnergy is the successor of Ramco Energy Plc, the oil and gas exploration firm that Remp founded in 1977. Ramco became SeaEnergy in 2009 and switched its focus to offshore wind after Remp saw potential for wind power in the North Sea.

SeaEnergy’s legacy oil and gas assets include stakes in Mesopotamia Petroleum Co., which explores oil in Iraq, and Lansdowne Oil & Gas Plc. Its interests are either minority stakes or non-operated assets.

SeaEnergy will focus on its marine-services business through its SeaEnergy Marine division, Remp said. The unit seeks to design, build and operate vessels to service the offshore wind industry.

“The service business is a huge opportunity and as offshore wind developers now get into more detail, they really need somebody like us,” Remp said.

Europe’s Offshore Wind

The European offshore wind market may begin operating 11.5 gigawatts by 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the London-based industry analyst.

Gas Natural SDG SA may take part in some of Repsol’s projects in SeaEnergy Renewables with a 50 percent stake, said an official at the Barcelona-based natural gas company. That participation is subject to obtaining permission from U.K. authorities, the official said. Repsol owns 31 percent of Gas Natural.

Today’s agreement allows SeaEnergy to retain its relationship with Nantong Cosco Ship Steel Structure Co Ltd. in China, Remp said. They’re looking at building jacket structures for offshore wind turbines in eastern Asia before bringing them flat-packed to the U.K. for assembly in yards and also installing them, Remp said.

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